Southampton are growing increasingly pessimistic about persuading Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin to sign new contracts with the club, sources have told ESPN FC
Clyne's current deal with the south coast club expires in the summer of 2016, with Southampton fully aware that Manchester United are keen to push forward with the signing the England full-back this summer.
While tentative talks over a new deal have for Clyne have been staged, his advisers have made it clear that the 23-year-old will not be signing a new deal with Southampton as he looks to further his career with a club playing Champions League football.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman confirmed that talks with Clyne over extending his stay with the club have been "difficult" as he gave the first public acknowledgment of interest from rival clubs to sign his defender.
"We are still in talking with the agent of Clyney, but it's difficult. I read in the press there's some interest," Koeman said. "Nobody knocked on the door with an offer for Clyne, but we know [he has] one season on his contract and we want Clyne to stay at the club.
"We hope one day we will compare to the big [clubs], but that's difficult. We know our level, we know our possibilities.
"This club can't fight against big teams in the Premier League because the money and the possibilities of them are still much higher than we have."
Clyne went on record earlier this week to suggest he was keen to play in Europe's elite competition, with his manager backing him in that ambition.
"I like to play Champions League as well but that's the aspiration for every football player and it's a normal aspiration," said the former Barcelona star. "If you don't mention that, there's something wrong."
Koeman went on to suggest he would like to know whether Clyne will be in his plans sooner rather than later and hinted he would like a decision to be made on his future before the end of this month.
"We don't wait until the end of the season because you know if there is a player who is left one season of his contract then you have to do something," he added.
"Of course we have to do everything to keep the player in the team, but I like to know it as soon as possible -- not in the last week of the season, but earlier on. I mentioned April but by the end of April, the first week of May, it's good to know something about his situation."
Schneiderlin is also set to leave Southampton after his hopes of a move last summer were blocked by the club at a time when they had lost a host of star players such as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren.
French international midfielder Schneiderlin is also keen to push through a move to a club playing Champions League football this summer, sources have told ESPN FC, with Arsenal and Manchester United strongly linked with a move for the 25-year-old midfielder.
Koeman will be given any funds from players sales to reinvest in the transfer market, with his successful purchases last summer helping to guide Southampton towards a top six finish in the Premier League, which would secure entry into next season's Europa League.