Atletico Madrid do not appear as if they are set to complete the transfer of Marco Reus, seemingly handing a boost to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the battle for the German international's services.
Various reports over recent days had claimed that La Liga champions Atletico were confident of signing Reus, with the player seemingly destined to follow the likes of Robert Lewandowski through the exit door at Signal Iduna Park.
However, according to recent speculation cited by The Daily Express, Atletico are not prepared to spend up-front the £25 million necessary to activate Reus' release clause and instead now look set to step up their pursuit of Italian international and Torino winger Alessio Cerci.
A deal for Reus involving the offer of various incentives as opposed to cold hard cash always seemed unlikely to tempt Dortmund into parting with arguably their biggest asset, with the charismatic Jurgen Klopp having frequently re-iterated his desire to keep the 25-year-old forward for the foreseeable future.
Ever since rejoining his boyhood club from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012, Reus has become an integral figure under Klopp.
After scoring 16 goals in 30 domestic appearances during Dortmund's latest failed attempt to re-take the mantle of the Bundesliga's top club from the mighty Bayern Munich, Reus looked in fantastic shape heading into the summer and appeared set to make a decisive impact for Germany at the World Cup.
Sadly, however, Reus was eventually unable to play any part in their success in Brazil after being ruled out of the entire tournament with a partially torn ankle ligament sustained during a routine warm-up win over Armenia at the Coface Arena in Mainz.
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Cerezo dismisses rumours
Indeed, Atletico's own club president - Enrique Cerezo - appeared baffled by the rumours linking his club with Reus.
"I don't know where the Marco Reus rumour came from. It's a player who, at this time, is impossible to us. Look, he had an offer for a lot of money from Manchester United and he has not gone... we will not sign him with a lesser offer," he said.
Atletico's reluctance to pursue Reus does not necessary mean he will remain with Dortmund beyond the end of the current window, however, with a number of Premier League heavyweights believed to still be chasing him.
Premier League interest
Like Atletico, Liverpool were initially considered as outsiders in this particular transfer race, although their hugely positive 2013/14 campaign and subsequent return to the Champions League is likely to have boosted their reputation as an attractive destination.
Arsenal still appear somewhat short on competition for Olivier Giroud in the final third, with the inexperienced Yaya Sanogo still to prove that he is worthy of a regular role in Arsene Wenger's starting XI.
A move for Reus at this stage has to considered unlikely, though, particularly with the Gunners having completed a deal for Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez in July.
Of all of the Premier League sides mentioned in conjunction with Reus, Manchester United would appear to be the most likely destination.
Although the Red Devils will be absent from European football this season following the disastrous reign of David Moyes, they still have significant funds to spend and manager Louis van Gaal is obviously more desperate than ever to improve the quality of his squad following Saturday's disappointing defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford.
Where do you think Reus will end up in the coming weeks? Will he opt to stay with Dortmund or be tempted by the allure of the English top-flight? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box provided below.
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