Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert has ruled out a move to Middlesbrough, but has expressed interest in playing for a "big London team" in the Premiership.
The 27-year-old was released on Tuesday by Barcelona and Middlesbrough made him one of their top transfer targets.
But Kluivert dealt the northeast club a blow, telling the Sunday Mirror: "I've no intention of going to Middlesbrough.
"I will not consider a move to a small club. I would like to go to one of the big London teams."
Boro chief executive Keith Lamb revealed some of his transfer targets on Saturday.
""We have identified our targets and it's true that Kluivert is one of them," he told BBC Radio Cleveland.
"But we're interested in Mark Viduka at Leeds and Yakubu at Portsmouth as well and we're trying to make progress."
"Progress is slow at the moment. That's because it's the traditional holiday period for players, but we expect things to start happening in a couple of weeks' time."
Kluivert's reported £80,000-a-week wage had been expected to prove a stumbling block for clubs interested in his services.
And the Dutchman's agent Kim Laudrup remained tight-lipped on Boro's claims.
"I have no comment to make either way," Laudrup told BBC Sport from Barcelona.
Kluivert, along with Edgar Davids, Phillip Cocu and Marc Overmars, was released as part of Barca's plans to trim their wage bill.
Kluivert, a Champions League winner with Ajax in 1996, has been at Barca since 1998 but was relegated to the substitutes bench this season.
He scored 90 goals in his 181 appearances for the Catalan giants, but had become a target for fans who claimed he was most interested in running his trendy bar.