Arsenal's search for a short-term solution to their attacking crisis is approaching a dead end after Lille striker Salomon Kalou and Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata were seemingly both put out of Arsene Wenger's reach.
Injuries to Olivier Giroud, Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott – who is out for the season – leaves the Gunners with one recognised forward in the form of Lukas Podolski going into a period of the season where Wenger must balance Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League commitments.
The French boss is understood to have informed his scouting team to identify a short-term fix to his attacking crisis with Kalou and Morata both recognised as potential low-cost recruits ahead of a summer where Arsenal are expected to launch a bid for either Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa or Real's Karim Benzema.
However, Lille have seemingly derailed any hope Arsenal had of landing Kalou, who has scored eight goals in 19 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season, after president Michel Seydoux slapped an outrageous £72m price tag on the ex-Chelsea forward.
"Kalou? For €87m [£72m] maybe," Seydoux told RMC Sport.
"There is no question [whether] he leaves. He is part of our plans and I think he wants to stay. A departure at the end of the season is not inevitable."
And Arsenal have been handed a further blow after Real boss Carlo Ancelotti appeared to rule out an exit for Morata after confirming there will be no changes to personnel at the Bernabeu during the January window.
Morata is highly thought of in the Spanish capital but with only one La Liga start this term would find a loan move during the second half of the campaign valuable to extending his football education.
However, with only Jesse Rodriguez in reserve behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema in the Real attack, Ancelotti has opted not to allow Morata or any player to leave the club in the New Year.
The Italian's declaration is likely to mean Angel di Maria and Fabio Coentrao will also remain with the nine-time European Cup winners.
"I've not spoken with them because there's nothing," Ancelotti said. "No-one is leaving and no-one is coming in," said the Italian. "We have a good squad. We don't need anything."