Jose Mourinho is still hoping to see Marouane Fellaini sign fresh terms at Manchester United, but has rejected claims that the club have ignored an expiring deal.
With the Belgium international set to hit free agency this summer, a late scramble has been sparked at Old Trafford in an effort to get him tied down.
The United boss has also moved to dismiss suggestions that the Red Devils allowed the midfielder’s contract to run down, despite calls from the player for talks to be held.
Mourinho told reporters on an unfortunate saga for all concerned: “It’s not frustrating for me, because that’s football — he let his contract run until the end.
“You cannot say that it was the club. If there were no offers, then we could say the club let it go until now. But he had offers, and he had offers in a progressive way.
“Of course, the offer he has now on the table is a better offer than he had six months ago or eight months ago. It’s a process, it’s his decision and we have to respect that.”
Fellaini told Sport/Voetbalmagazine recently that his efforts to enter into talks during the 2016-17 campaign fell on deaf ears.
He said: "The club didn't renew my contract last year. Now, I'm in a strong position, especially since Mourinho has said he wants to keep me.
"Last year, I went to the coach and said I wanted a new contract. I then had a second meeting, but I won't ask 10 times. Afterwards, I became important for the team...
"A good player costs at least 50 million euros. The club knows they went wrong there.”
Fellaini has made 21 appearances for United across all competitions this season, netting five goals.
The most recent of those came in his last outing, as he netted a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal.