Marouane Fellaini's Arsenal dreams may not materialise, with the Mirror reporting Arsene Wenger is not convinced by the Belgian international's quality. The Gunners were reported to have triggered a release clause in the Toffee star's contract last week but it is now understood that no formal offer was made.
Incoming Everton boss Roberto Martinez is unwilling to lose a key player before his first season at Goodison Park but club chairman Bill Kenwright has already admitted to the release clause (believed to be between £22m and £23m, depending on different reports) and the possibility of losing the midfielder.
It now appears both Martinez and Kenwright can rest easy. Despite claims of "financial firepower", Wenger appears to be as unwilling to spend big on transfers as ever. Fellaini scored 11 goals and created five more from 31 Premier League games last season and is widely regarded as one of the best central midfielders in the English top flight.
The Belgian has also been linked to Manchester United, where David Moyes will officially take charge on 1 July. And the Old Trafford side are unlikely to baulk at the £23m release clause, leaving Arsenal with yet another failed target chase.
Wenger's reported unwillingness to spend is all the more curious given the lavish praise he bestowed on Fellaini in November.
"I think he is a good player. Everton's offensive game turns around him. He is the target man they look for, and in recent years he is moving further forward. When he arrived at Everton he was more defensive," the Frenchman explained.
"Now he is more forward and it looks like he will finish centre-forward. He uses his body well, but he is not a dirty player. He is an intelligent player," Wenger admitted, on the eve of a Premier League tie at Goodison Park.
Fellaini joined Everton for a club record £17m in 2008, from Belgian club Standard Liege. He has a contract that runs till 2016 and although the Mirror believes him keen to join the Gunners, the player has been quoted as saying he wants to remain in the blue half of Merseyside, with whom he has ambitions of Champions League football.