Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro has confirmed that the club made an offer for former star Robinho, but saw their approach rejected by AC Milan.
Robinho, 28, emerged through the ranks at Santos and is an idol to many of the club's supporters, with Ribeiro having made it is his long-standing mission to repatriate the Brazil international.
The club president, though, confirmed that they could not match Milan's valuation of the player, whilst an approach for Robinho's former team-mate Diego met similar obstacles.
"We presented an offer of R$10 million (€4 million) and they wanted R$15 million (€6 million). They also didn't accept because they had lost Ibrahimovic," he told Radio Bandeirantes. "Diego would come on loan, but Wolfsburg were asking for R$14 million in a year's time, so we gave up."
Robinho and Diego came through the Santos youth ranks together, helping the club to the 2002 Brazilian Championship while aged just 18 and 17 respectively. Robinho would remain for a further league title, before adding the Copa do Brasil on a loan-spell with the club while at Manchester City in 2010.