Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been left out of the Borussia Dortmund squad for their fixture on Friday (19 January) amid reports suggesting he has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with Arsenal.
On Thursday (18 January), Arsene Wenger admitted Aubameyang would "fit in" at the Gunners with the club making him their number one target to replace Alexis Sanchez, who is now poised to join Manchester United.
His remarks prompted a fierce response from Dortmund, whose sporting director Michael Zorc claimed later that afternoon there was no offer from the north London club.
Speculation over the 28-year-old striker's future intensified further on Thursday, evening however, with Aubameyang left out of the travelling Dortmund squad for Friday's Bundesliga fixture against Hertha Berlin.
The Gabon international was not present as his side flew out to the German capital with Bild now suggesting his move to the Emirates Stadium is "probably imminent."
"Auba trains in Dortmund," Dortmund sporting director Zorc commented. "We have the impression that he is busy with other things in his head and is not fully focused."
Just as news of Aubameyang's absence was emerging, Sky Sport Italy revealed details of the contract agreement between Arsenal and the player, reporting the striker has agreed a three-and-a-half year worth €10m-a-year – or just over €190,000 a-week – in a deal that will keep him at the Emirates until 2021.
Arsenal are still to agree terms with Dortmund however and Sky Italy add the German side still want €60m for the player who has struck 21 goals in 23 appearances for them this season.
While Arsene Wenger was not willing to discuss a deal for the Dortmund striker until it is "over the line," the Gunners boss spoke of his admiration for Aubameyang, dismissing suggestions his recent disciplinary problems could be an issue.
"A character can be very positive or very negative. Overall you look at achievement over career and if he has done well the character has been used in a positive way."
Those comments earned Wenger a sharp response from Zorc. "We consider it disrespectful to comment on players of other clubs," Zorc said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, shortly after Wenger's comments. "There is no contact with Arsenal."