Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has told Manchester United that goalkeeper Jose Reina is not for sale amid reports that the Spaniard is a target for Sir Alex Ferguson.
United have been linked with a move for Reina as they look for a long-term replacement for 40-year-old Edwin van der Sar, who is thought to be considering retiring at the end of the season.
However, World Cup winner Reina, 28, signed a six-year contract in April and Hodgson has no intention of letting one of his most prized assets leave.
“We have heard nothing from Manchester United and, more to the point, we don’t want to hear anything from Manchester United,” Hodgson told the Liverpool Echo.
“If [Sir Alex] Ferguson is looking around at the end of the season and he has got lots of money to replace Van der Sar, he might very well want Pepe Reina because he is the best around.
“But we do not want to sell him. I would like to think that we are going to become a successful club once again and Pepe is crucial to that.”
Hodgson said the transfers rumours were “disappointing and annoying” and went on to lavish praise on Reina, who has been a key figure since he joined Liverpool from Villarreal in 2005.
“Pepe is fantastic here, he is a lifeblood of this team,” Hodgson said. “Everything he does around the club is excellent – he is always lively in the dressing room, he is always first class in training and he always wants to do more to improve.
“He demands better from those around him, he is always pushing people on. He is a player who we hold in the highest esteem.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror claimed on Thursday that both Reina and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres have negotiated “secret get-out clauses” in their new contracts that would allow them to leave Anfield in January.