Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has resigned himself to missing out on Carlos Tevez, with arch-rivals AC Milan set to secure his signature.
The Nerazzurri thought they had stolen a march on their cross-city neighbours when they entered the chase with a big-money bid.
Reports suggest the offer they put to Manchester City was accepted by the Premier League club, with City keen to get Tevez off their books.
However, the Argentina international is understood to favour a move to AC Milan, handing them the upper hand in a long-running transfer tussle.
Adriano Galliani, AC Milan's vice-president, is said to have travelled to England to counter Inter's bid and convince City to do business with the Rossoneri.
Moratti believes those efforts have been successful, with it looking increasingly likely that Tevez will be turning out for their old adversaries in the near future.
When asked if he believes Tevez will join AC rather than Inter, he told his club's official website: "I believe so.
Reports in Italy claim Inter were willing to take Tevez on loan for the remainder of the season with an option to buy his sporting rights in the summer for €27million (£22.4m).