Derby have denied that Middlesbrough have lodged a £3million bid for Rob Hulse and insist that the striker is not for sale.
Rams chairman of football Adam Pearson stated that the 29-year-old was highly thought of at Pride Park and was firmly in manager Nigel Clough's plans.
Boro are thought to be keen on bringing in fresh faces upfront with current strikers Afonso Alves and Tuncay tipped to leave the Riverside in the coming weeks following the club's relegation from the Premier League.
However it appears that they will now have to look elsewhere even though the Derby chief insists they are yet to receive a bid from Boro.
"Rob is our player of the year, an important player for us and not one we are looking to sell," Pearson told the Derby Telegraph.
"He is highly respected within the club and we rate him as probably the best centre-forward in the Championship."
Hulse, who has struggled with injuries in the past, managed to feature 54 times last season in all competitions, scoring 18 goals.