Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has denied that a deal has been done for Festy Ebosele to move to Udinese.
The Republic of Ireland U21 international has become one of the hottest young commodities in the Championship following a string of excellent performances for the Rams.
The Enniscorthy native has been a key component of a Derby side gamely battling against relegation and administration.
Ebosele even scored a fine third in Derby's 3-1 win over Hull City in midweek.
Reports in the Italian media this week claimed that Derby had given the 19-year old permission to undergo a medical with Udinese ahead of a move to the Serie A club in the summer.
Now in the last six-months of his contract at Pride Park, Ebosele is free to discuss potential deals with other clubs.
But Rooney has denied that things are as advanced as the Italian press would suggest.
"No, he certainly hasn't done a medical and - as far as I'm aware - no contract is agreed," he told a press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough.
"There has been contact from the club [Udinese] to the administrators. But, of course, we're left in a position where if he chooses he wants to go and play there then - because of the situation - that's his choice.
"But he's a player we want to keep, and hopefully the news we've had today on the Middlesbrough situation, hopefully we can start getting a contract in front of him because we want to keep him.
"He's a huge talent. Myself, and the other coaches, have developed him mentally as a player and we want the opportunity to carry on doing that, and keep getting more out of him."
That 'Middlesbrough situation' to which Rooney referred is that former Derby chairman Mel Morris, and his Middlesbrough counterpart Steve Gibson, have reached an agreement over a legal dispute between the two Championship sides.
That dispute had halted potential buyers of Derby County - of whom Mike Ashley is believed to be one - coming forward with solid bids.
But with the legal wrangling almost at an end, Rooney says he wants to offer new deals to the likes of Ebosele.
"I've only spoken [sic] to him briefly once on it [a move away]," said the Rams' boss, "You can see the enjoyment he has from playing for this club.
"Now I can speak to him, hopefully. But not just speak to him, hopefully we can get a contract in front of him if the EFL allow us to do that. And then he's got a decision to make."
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