Arsenal have been handed a huge blow after Porto president Pinto da Costa admitted that primary forward target Jackson Martinez has chosen to join AC Milan over the Gunners next season.
But after the speculation was dismissed by the player's agent, the president has now confirmed that the Colombian striker has chosen the Serie A giants over a move to the Premier League.
"Jackson Martinez has chosen Milan," Da Costa is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
The Porto chief, however, made it clear that Milan will have to pay the full amount of the release clause, which is valued at £25m ($38.9) before any deal can be concluded for the transfer of the striker.
"Before going on holiday, Jackson announced he wanted to leave. The €35m clause is not up for debate and must be paid. I learned just now that Jackson has chosen Milan."
"This is what he wants, the destination is irrelevant as far as I am concerned. I want him to be happy," the Porto president added.
Martinez's agent Luiz Henrique Pompeo has backed the president's statements by also admitting that he is optimistic with regards to his client's move to the San Siro in the summer, but gave Arsenal a glimmer of hope by admitting that Milan had neither paid the required fee nor signed an agreement with the striker in terms of wages being offered.
"I am optimistic on Jackson's move to Milan, but we're not quite there yet. There is a good possibility we'll conclude the transfer, but we are not yet at the all-clear moment," Henrique Pompeo is quoted as saying by Goal.
"What I can say with certainty is that Martinez is a player worthy of a top club like Milan who wrote history. The Rossoneri are not just a big club, but a huge one."
"Will they pay the €35m release clause? You'd have to ask Milan that, it is not something that regards us. As for the wages, I cannot discuss figures at the moment. There's no deal with the player yet," the Colombian international's agent added.