Alan Pardew has emphatically dismissed reports of a part-exchange offer from Arsenal for Jonny Evans, but insists that West Bromwich Albion could sell their captain before next week's January transfer deadline if the "price is right".
Arsenal and Manchester City were reported to have revived their respective pursuits of Evans this month after failing to prise him away from The Hawthorns last summer. City have since opted to instead pursue a deal for Athletic Club Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte to leave just one club in the race.
Arsene Wenger is believed to be hoping to wrap up a £20m ($28.4m) deal for Evans, who appears to have no intention of agreeing a new contract, as part of a wider £75m double swoop that would also see wantaway Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrive in north London.
The Gunners' bargaining position in relation to those first set of negotiations was seemingly strengthened last week by the revelation that the former Manchester United defender's current deal contains a clause that would allow him to leave for just £3m at the end of the season in the event that West Brom are relegated from the Premier League.
The latest reports on Friday (26 January) claimed that Arsenal had submitted a £10m offer for Evans that also included right-back Mathieu Debuchy - a player West Brom have been linked with in the past.
However, Pardew denies that such a bid has been made and indicated that it would not be of any interest to the Baggies anyway.
"No, and that's not a deal that's been put to us either by the way, so that's just paper talk," he told reporters at a press conference held before Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool at Anfield. "I say paper talk but that's probably a bit unfair, someone has released that and it's not true.
"Jonny is still at the football club, we still haven't had a bid put to us that is anywhere near acceptable and therefore he remains a West Brom player."
He added: "We might sell if the price is right. We've had a couple of enquiries of what we would be looking for, and the answer has been 'we're not gonna tell you'. You make a bid and you'll get some gauge. We don't really want to sell Jonny but we'll see."
West Brom are believed to be closing in on the loan signing of Zamalek defender Ali Gabr, but Pardew remained coy on whether Ahmed Hegazi's Egyptian international teammate was being brought in as a replacement for Evans.
"He's a player we're interested in, whether it depends on Jonny's transfer is for our own personal opinion, not yours," he added.
While it remains to be seen if any more new players will arrive at Arsenal before next Wednesday's deadline, one midfielder left the club on a temporary basis on Friday [26 January] after official confirmation of Under-23 regular Ben Sheaf's loan switch to League Two outfit Stevenage.