Torino president Urbano Cairo has long admitted that Alessio Cerci could be sold for the right price this summer, but would remain if at all possible.
The Italian caught the eye last season with 13 goals and 10 assists in Serie A, piquing widespread interest from around the continent.
Over the past few months Atletico Madrid and AC Milan had been seen as favourites for the 26-year-old’s signature, with his departure from the Granata looking a foregone conclusion.
Arsenal have now emerged as a late contender for Cerci’s services as Milan have fallen off, negotiations reportedly underway to bring him to North London.
And for a moment a sale seemed imminent as ever when it emerged Cerci isn’t part of the Torino squad that will take on Inter to open their Serie A campaign on Sunday.
Cairo, however, has now cast doubt over a move abroad for his star man.
He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Now we are down to the last days and I think there won’t be time to complete a move that suits everyone in such a small space of time.”
Atletico Madrid seemingly aren’t deterred, having submitted an offer of €12 million plus €2 million in bonuses on Saturday according to Sky Sport Italia.
Torino have always been firm that €20 million is the sum required to pry Cerci loose, and perhaps Cairo doesn’t see any suitors ready to meet his valuation under pressure.
Arsenal may well see €20 million as too steep a fee for a player that doesn’t fit the typical centre-forward mould, needing direct cover for Olivier Giroud rather than a versatile attacker.
Atletico, meanwhile, may be searching for a last-gasp bargain that Torino aren’t willing to give. Whether the Spanish champions will raise their offer remains to be seen.
After looking a lock to leave Turin, Cerci’s chances of staying seem to now be on the upswing.
Whether he’ll remain with Torino past Monday ultimately depends on Atletico or Arsenal’s willingness to quickly meet Cairo’s demands - something the Granata chief doesn’t seem to believe will happen.
Should Arsenal act fast to sign Cerci before the transfer window closes?