Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop hit back at Socceroos star Tim Cahill, saying A-League clubs were unable to meet his high demands.
Cahill, 36, had his contract at Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua terminated, leading to immediate speculation surrounding his future.
The veteran is expected to remain in China and on Friday slammed the game in Australia for lacking “vision”.
In his response, Gallop said A-League clubs had been in contact with Cahill – but the forward’s demands could not be met.
“We contacted Tim and his advisers immediately when we heard he was not going to be part of Shanghai any longer,” he said.
“A number of our clubs also contacted him immediately. I personally was in contact with him.
“He made it clear immediately that we couldn’t meet his needs.”
Since leaving Everton in 2012, Cahill has spent time at the New York Red Bulls and Shanghai Shenhua – meaning he has never played professionally in Australia.
He remains the nation’s leading goalscorer with 45, but appears unlikely to return to his homeland in the near future.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Cahill said the domestic competition lacked the ambition he needed.
“I just need vision, I’ve never asked for anything but that,” he said.
“The only thing is, some people’s vision is not as big as mine and it’s tough, because it depends where they want to be. Where does the A-League want to be?”