AS Roma sporting director Monchi appears to have challenged reports that the club have agreed a deal with Chelsea for striker Edin Dzeko, who provided a timely reminder of his quality in Serie A on Wednesday night (24 January).
As Antonio Conte' side, missing first-choice forward Alvaro Morata due to a back injury, failed to find the late equaliser that would have sent the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Arsenal into extra-time, the Bosnian international started for Roma in their clash against Sampdoria and headed home Mirko Antonucci's cross in the 91st minute to rescue a point at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Chelsea are eager to bring Dzeko back to English football as part of a possible double transfer coup that would also see left-back Emerson Palmieri arrive at Stamford Bridge, with The Guardian among those to report earlier yesterday that a £44m ($62.6m) bid plus add-ons of £13.2m had been accepted for the pair.
Personal terms on behalf of Dzeko, who will turn 32 in March and is seeking assurances over regular first-team football, were said to be the only thing holding up the deal, though suggestions that his agent had already arrived in London were later contradicted by claims that he was still awaiting a visa to make the trip.
Chelsea are generally reluctant to overspend on players of advancing years and over recent seasons have adopted a policy that has seen them decline to offer anything longer than one-year contracts to those over the age of 30.
They are believed to be willing to abandon that strategy in this instance, however, as Conte desperately seeks to acquire a target man and more reliable alternative to Michy Batshuayi.
Speaking before that fixture against Sampdoria, Monchi insisted that the bids received for Dzeko so far were unsatisfactory.
"Roma, like every club in the world, listen to the offers that arrive for their players, not just for Edin, but anyone in the squad," the Spaniard told Mediaset Premium, per ESPN. "We are ready to listen and then we decide. Now Dzeko is here and the rest doesn't matter, which means what we've received so far wasn't acceptable.
"I don't know what personal terms were offered to the player, as I am not his agent. I am talking about Roma - an offer arrives, we look at it and then decide. A director of sport must look at the economic and sporting aspect, that is the point of the role. I am a director, I must consider both, otherwise tomorrow I would've gone to sign Leo Messi."
Emerson was also part of Roma's matchday squad at Sampdoria, although he was left as an unused substitute by head coach Eusebio Di Francesco.