Arsenal's hopes of emerging victorious from their dogged pursuit of Thomas Lemar look to have been extinguished after AS Monaco confirmed categorically that both the versatile midfielder and teammate Fabinho would remain at the Stade Louis II this summer.
The Gunners had already failed with two offers for Lemar, although were expected to return with a third bid valued at approximately £45m ($58.7m). The Sun claimed that latest approach had at last sparked a breakthrough, despite Monaco initially asking for £80m in a bid to deter any further interest from Arsene Wenger.
Along with so many of Leonardo Jardim's talented Ligue 1 title-winning crop, Brazilian international Fabinho has also been subject to much speculation over recent months.
The defensive midfield convert and Jorge Mendes client has been linked with a whole host of European heavyweights including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Despite that influential pair being widely tipped to join the Monaco exodus, vice-president Vadim Vasilyev insists they will stay put as the club seek to bring the shutters down on a potentially costly summer window in which they have already lost the services of Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy.
"Fabinho and Lemar are essential players, they will stay with us," Vasilyev insisted during a press conference held in the principality on Wednesday (26 July) to officially introduce new recruits Terence Kongolo, Diego Benaglio, Soualiho Meite, Youri Tielemans and Jordi Mboula. "We have kept all of the key players we intended to keep."
The future of teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has also been subject to daily speculation after a superb 2016-17 campaign in which he netted 26 goals in 44 total appearances. The race for his services now appears to be heating up considerably after claims that Real Madrid had agreed a world-record €180m deal in principle were quickly followed by reports that Manchester City had opened formal negotiations and submitted their own £143m bid.
Vasilyev is adamant that no agreement has been reached with any of Mbappe's suitors, with Monaco having previously threatened Fifa action against unnamed clubs said to have approached the player without their approval. He also confirmed that negotiations were ongoing over a potential new deal for the coveted 18-year-old, who is currently under contract until the summer of 2019.
"I assure you that there is no agreement with any club," he said. "We are in the process of discussing a contract extension. I hope we reach an agreement."