Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has consistently attempted to downplay speculation that he's in for Real Madrid star Sami Khedira this summer, but Spanish newspaper Sport believe it's all a smokescreen and expect the Gunners to target a last-ditch deal at a reduced price just before the transfer window slams shut.
Khedira has repeatedly snubbed contract offers from Real Madrid despite being in the final year of his current deal, with Sport reporting that Los Blancos wanted him to sign fresh terms alongside Karim Benzema last week, but were swiftly knocked back.
The Catalan-based publication is full of revelations in regard to the 27-year-old's future, also sharing that Khedira has been approached by both Chelsea and Manchester United this summer and quoted both Premier League giants a salary of €7m-a-season to secure his services.
Earlier this week Wenger was asked directly whether he's made a move for Khedira since the World Cup concluded, but gave a response that the vast majority of Gunners fans were probably disappointed with.
"We were never close to signing him," Wenger insisted. I don't know who has put Khedira on the market - is it his agent or the press?
"Jack Wilshere is back fit and in midfield we have offensive midfielders and quite a few box-to-box players."
Chance of season-long limbo?
Khedira is playing hardball in terms of wage expectations and after a magnificent display at the World Cup that's no surprise, but its a dangerous came that could look very silly in a months time.
For starters Arsenal could easily turn their attention to a longer-term acquisition such as Portuguese powerhouse William Carvalho.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is also likely to play a waiting game and see if he can bring his former first-team standout to Stamford Bridge for nothing next summer, all of which could leave Khedira facing up to a season on the bench in the Spanish capital without a compromise in negotiations.
Madrid are still desperate to sell and put a dent in their €105m spend on Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, so don't be surprised if Sport are proved right and Wenger attempts to sign Khedira for a cut-price despite his claims to the contrary.