Arsenal's hopes of signing Spanish striker Alvaro Morata look to have been permanently dashed.
According to the London Evening Standard, Real Madrid have informed the Gunners that they will not allow the 21-year-old to leave the Santiago Bernabeu because they view him as a talented prospect for the future.
The same reports also suggest that Real Madrid see Morata - rather than 2013 Ballon d'Or award favourite Cristiano Ronaldo - as backup to primary striker Karim Benzema and are unwilling to risk losing him, even on a loan deal.
Arsenal, who were rocked yesterday by the news that Theo Walcott will miss at least six months of action with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee sustained during the 2-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday , are clearly in serious need of attacking reinforcements with Olivier Giroud having been sidelined and Nicklas Bendtner out for up to six weeks with an ankle problem.
Morata, who boasts a formidable scoring record for the Spanish U21s, is believed to be a major target, with Arsenal reported to favour a season-long loan move for the Real Madrid man with the transfer window now open for business once again.
However, with Real appearing not to hold any interest whatsoever in letting Morata leave the Spanish capital, it appears as if Arsene Wenger will be forced to look elsewhere in his pursuit of a new forward.