Arsenal's hopes of signing Sevilla's Geoffrey Kondogbia have been hampered after the midfielder admitted he has dreamt of playing for Real Madrid all his life.
Europe's biggest clubs are now beginning to queue up for the talented 20-year-old, with Arsenal, Real Madrid and Manchester City having all been credited with an interest. The persistent injuries to Abou Diaby have reportedly encouraged Arsene Wenger to consider bringing in another commanding midfield presence, with the manager confirming the club's interest in the French midfielder on Sunday.
But despite keen interest, Wenger's hopes of bringing the midfielder to the Emirates have been struck an early blow after Kondogbia admitted turning down Real Madrid would be incredibly difficult.
"It is always a pleasure to know that they are following you and they want you," Kondogbia told Telefoot. "Real Madrid? That makes dream but it is only a rumour at the moment. With clubs like that I can play in the Champions League. A preference? Since I was small, Real Madrid."
Kondogbia joined the under-performing Sevilla just last summer, joining the Andalucian outfit for just €3m from RC Lens. The club could set to make a huge profit on the midfielder, with reports suggesting Sevilla now value the all action midfielder at £17m.
Following the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona last summer, the Gunners have at times looked in need of another physical presence in their midfield. Diaby's inability to stay fit has been a constant source of frustration throughout the season, and Wenger may now be prepared to open his chequebook in a bid to ease the problem.
Should reports be accurate, Arsenal would likely have to make a bid that would smash their record transfer fee, something the club have to do in the past in efforts to lure a player away from Sevilla. The Gunners paid the same club £17.5 million for the services of Antonio Reyes in 2004; an initial £10.5 million up front with £7 million in bonuses and appearances, albeit all of which were not paid.