Alan Pardew does not believe West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will complete a move to Arsenal before Wednesday night's (31 January) transfer deadline, but admits that one player could depart before the window shuts at 11pm GMT.
Evans was widely expected to leave The Hawthorns this month after Arsenal and Manchester City each resurrected their respective pursuits of his services following a summer saga that saw both clubs - plus Leicester City - fail with multiple bids.
A potential exit appeared likelier still amid reports that the Northern Ireland centre-back, who has entered the final 18 months of his contract, could be bought for a paltry fee of just £3m ($4.2m) at the end of the season if relegation-threatened West Brom relinquish their Premier League status.
Confirmation of Ali Gabr's arrival from Zamalek on a loan deal until the end of the season that contains the option of a permanent transfer only added further fuel to that speculation.
City's £57m club-record deal for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte - officially completed on Tuesday [30 January] - seemed to leave a clear path for Arsenal, but no firm offers have seemingly been forthcoming with Pardew last week dismissing rumours over a £10m part-exchange proposal involving right-back Mathieu Debuchy but admitting that a sale was still possible if the "price is right".
The Gunners are reportedly reluctant to match Evans' £20m valuation as they seek to finally close a complicated £60m deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who arrived at London Colney earlier this afternoon to undergo a medical.
It has been said that Arsenal do not consider moves for both Aubameyang and Evans as financially practical in this widow - something that could potentially change with the sale of Olivier Giroud - and are likely to return for the latter in the summer, when he will be attainable for a much cheaper price. However, the Mail claim that they do retain an interest this month.
Speaking in a press conference held before the deadline-day trip to leaders City, Pardew admitted that one member of the West Brom squad could be on his way out - but not Evans or winger James McClean, who has been the subject of a late loan offer from Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County.
"I think Jonny Evans will stay at this football club," he said, per Sky Sports. "We do have one player that could go out but it's not Jonny Evans or James McClean."
Pardew also claimed that new signing Daniel Sturridge was "in the same category as Harry Kane" after West Brom beat Newcastle United and Inter Milan to agree a loan deal with Liverpool until the end of the season that will see them pay a £2m fee and cover his £120,000-a-week wages in full.
The 56-year-old is not expecting to conduct any further incoming business before the deadline, with the arrival of West Midlands native Sturridge ending the prospect of a riskier £16m deal for Watford skipper Troy Deeney, whom the Express and Star report did not want to include a relegation clause in his contract.
Reports over a possible loan swoop for Dortmund attacker Andre Schurrle - formerly of Chelsea - appear to be wide of the mark, meanwhile.