Arsenal's long-running transfer saga with Gonzalo Higuain has taken another turn, as an agent for Real Madrid has refuted reports the Gunners have agreed a deal to sign the Los Blancos forward.
Reports in Spanish publication AS, claimed both a fee and personal terms were agreed to take Higuain to North London. That report was later picked up by most of the UK press, including The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mirror.
But Higuain's agent, Ernesto Bronzetti, has poured scorn on these promising rumors. Bronzetti told Italian website Tuttomercatoweb.com, that no deal has been completed.
He also indicated that there are five or six teams in the running for Higuain, including the Gunners and Juventus. The claims will be a blow to expectant Arsenal fans who were hoping the club was finally poised to deliver on its promises of increased spending this summer.
Landing Higuain would be a major coup for beleaguered manager Arsene Wenger. It would prove to disgruntled fans that the usually frugal Frenchman is at last willing to spend big to attract marquee names.
Wenger's policy of recruiting potential over established talent has irked more than a few of the Arsenal faithful during the club's barren eight-year spell.
Signing a player like Higuain is supposed to signal an end to all of that. Arsenal's chief executive Ivan Gazidis has boasted of the club's riches and willingness to use them in this summer's market.
Failing to secure a deal for Higuain after another round of protracted negotiations, will look like more of the same reluctance to spend. It would leave Wenger searching for the same solid prospects to compete against the high-priced, world-class squads of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
It is difficult to imagine the Arsenal boss being able to bridge the gap without substantial investment this summer. Then again it is just as hard to envision a manager whose career has been defined by prudent spending and shrewd development, suddenly joining the ranks of the big spenders.
Arsenal have not lost the race for Higuain yet. But for those cynical about the club's claims they are ready to spend big, this latest development is an ominous one.