Atletico Madrid have warned Arsenal they are confident of retaining Diego Costa during the summer transfer window, despite suggestions the Spaniard will be a transfer target at the end of the season.
Costa has scored 19 La Liga goals in as many appearances for an Atletico side who are level on points with Barcelona in the race for the title.
His success, coupled with the trend of Atletico selling their best players in previous summers – with Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao among those to have left – means Costa has been linked with a £32m move in the summer, with Arsenal among the leading contenders for his signature.
But Atletico technical director Andrea Berta said: "[Costa] has managed to develop over the years thanks to his patience to wait for his opportunity.
"He has very important qualities, much determination and competitiveness. He is a special player.
"Atletico are a club who, due to their nature, have to sell every year, but we believe that we can keep our players for at least another year."
Arsenal are expected to launch a bid for a striker in the January transfer window ahead of the remainder of a season they hope will yield their first league title for 10 years.
Injuries to Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner, plus the workload imposed on Olivier Giroud, means Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in desperate need of fresh resources.
After signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid last summer for a record fee, Arsenal have been linked with a number of high-profile players.
With the club in the luxurious position of being all but assured a Champions League place, the Gunners can afford to plan ahead for next season, when supporters will expect the club's progress to continue.