Real Madrid have told Manchester United they will “not be held to ransom” over Ruud van Nistelrooy.

United are looking for £16m for the striker, but Real have offered £12m in the hope that the player’s desire to leave Old Trafford will force United’s hand.

Real vice-president Juan Mendoza said: “We are not going to drive ourselves crazy trying to meet valuations which don’t bear any relation to the market.

“We’re about to reach the point where we break off all negotiations even though the player clearly wants to play for us.

“It’s time to make it clear to Manchester United that Real Madrid are not going to be held to ransom over exorbitant prices.”

New Real boss Fabio Capello said: “There is no question that I want Van Nistelrooy.

“The fact that Bayern also want him indicates that the entire market is being scoured by Europe’s top clubs looking to snap up the best players.

“In the end it will be the player himself who has the final vote.”

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted that his club have not given up hope of signing Van Nistelrooy.

“We are trying to get him signed,” said Rummenigge.

“The chances of him joining are changing by the day but we have not written him off.”

Rummenigge is still confident Van Nistelrooy would choose a move to Germany over Spain.

“Every club wants to bring in important players, but it’s the players themselves who have the final word,” he added.

“There is a great relationship between the two clubs, and I know Van Nistelrooy wants to come to Bayern.”