Arsenal and Manchester City have been dealt a transfer blow in their pursuit of Spain legend Iker Casillas, after he revealed he wants to remain at Real Madrid ‘forever’.
The Real Madrid stopper has been heavily linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in recent months, after the 32-year-old fell behind Diego Lopez in the pecking order under both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
Both the Gunners and Citizens were linked with moves towards the end of the summer transfer window, but now the stopper has made it clear that he wants to stay in the Spanish capital for the rest of his career.
"I would like to be at Real Madrid forever. It's the club I dreamed of being at when I was young and it's where I've had both my sporting and personal education,” he told the official Los Blancos website.
"Players are selfish and want to be in the XI, but a good professional accepts decisions. I will fight every day to be in the team."
The quotes somewhat contradict those published in Spanish paper AS earlier in the day, which suggested that Casillas would consider a new challenged away from the club he’s spent his entire career.
“If a player isn’t in the action he starts thinking about taking a decision. I’m human and I’m a footballer. I haven’t played for nine months now and it’s the same for me,” the 151-cap international is quoted as saying in the paper.
If Madrid’s official site is to be believed, then the comments will be a blow to the interested parties.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger did strengthen between the sticks in the summer, bringing Emiliano Viviano to the Emirates Stadium on loan.
The former Italian international was drafted in to provide competition for Wojciech Szczesny, after the Pole failed to make the Gunners' number one spot his own last season.
Whilst the 23-year-old has improved this term, there is little question that Casillas would have added Arsenal with an additional element of quality at the back, although their chances now seem non-existent.
The same is true of Manchester City – another Premier League club who could have used some experience between the sticks this season.
Manuel Pellegrini arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer, and has witnessed young England stopper Joe Hart fall under the spotlight after a number of high-profile mistakes for the Citizens.
Casillas would have been able to steady the Manchester City ship in a time of trouble, but they failed to land the player then and now appear unlikely to do so in the future.