Arsenal have accepted that signing Atlético Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey is highly unlikely and they are now prepared to move on to other targets.
The Gunners are looking for some midfield reinforcements this summer and Mikel Arteta had placed Partey at the top of his wish list, but was met with fierce resistance from Atléti who have no interest in selling.
The 27-year-old comes with a £45m release clause, but the problem is that Arsenal can't afford that. They have tried numerous ways to lower that fee, proposing sending players like Mattéo Guendouzi in the opposite direction, but Atlético are refusing to play ball.
AS go as far as to suggest that Atléti won't even speak to Arsenal these days after growing tired of their quest to find a way out of paying that £45m, and with the Gunners unlikely to cough up that kind of money, there is an acceptance that this deal might be impossible.
Atético boss Diego Simeone still sees Partey as a core part of his squad and is desperate to tie the Ghanaian down to a new contract which would remove that perilously low release clause, but Partey has thus far rebuffed all advances to try and facilitate a move to the Emirates Stadium.
Goal add that while Partey is keen to make the move, he has refused to submit a transfer request and force an exit out of respect for Atlético. If Los Rojiblancos want him to stay, he will stay.
Having said that, Arsenal's interest remains very real and there are already talks underway at the Emirates over how the £45m fee can be raised.
Guendouzi's name is regularly thrown around, while striker Alexandre Lacazette could raise a sizeable sum of money if sold as well, and decisions will soon be made over the futures of Lucas Torreira, Mohamed Elneny, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolašinac, Calum Chambers and Mesut Özil.
If Arsenal can raise the money, they are expected to come back in with a fresh bid, but whether Partey will be convinced to sign a new contract before that day arrives (if it ever does) remains to be seen.
Source : 90min