Rumoured Arsenal transfer target Steven N'Zonzi has confirmed his intention to leave Sevilla following a falling out with head coach Eduardo Berizzo, although insists that his presence in London has nothing to do with negotiating a potential move to the Emirates Stadium.
Former Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City enforcer N'Zonzi has established a reputation as one of European football's leading defensive midfielders since moving to Andalusia in July 2015, making more than 100 total appearances, winning one Europa League title and also earning two senior international caps for France.
However, the 28-year-old's relationship with Sevilla appears to have deteriorated since he was denied a summer switch to reigning Serie A champions Juventus.
Matters have rather come to a head of late, with N'Zonzi made to train alone after reportedly leaving the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium early following his half-time substitution during the 3-3 Champions League draw with Liverpool on 21 November.
He felt he was singled out for blame as Sevilla trailed by three goals to nil and has since been omitted from the squad for La Liga victories over Villarreal and Deportivo La Coruna and the Copa del Rey round of 32 second-leg defeat of second-tier Cartagena.
N'Zonzi, who says he is now back training with his teammates and feels the problem could have been resolved quickly were highly-rated sporting director Monchi still at the club, also did not travel to Slovenia for Wednesday night's (6 December) final Group E tie against Maribor in which Sevilla will attempt to seal a knockout berth.
New Everton boss Sam Allardyce is said to be eager for a reunion with the player having previously worked with him at Blackburn, while Arsenal and Liverpool are also believed to be closely monitoring his situation, per The Mirror.
Those Arsenal links grew stronger earlier this week amid reports that he had flown to London - with Sevilla's permission - for discussions over his future, although N'Zonzi has now confirmed chairman Jose Castro's claim that the trip to England was for family reasons.
"I'm indeed in London, but it's got nothing to do with a transfer or football," he told France Football. "I've come to see my son who lives here and to spend some time with him. As you can see, it's not a question of signing for Arsenal or anywhere else."
Castro suggested that N'Zonzi's continued omission from first-team duty was due to a "technical issue with the coaches" that could be changed and insisted that Sevilla had not received any offers for his services thus far.
That could be set to change ahead of the January transfer window, however, after the midfielder - whose release clause was raised to €40m (£35.3m, $47.2m) as part of a one-year contract extension agreed in January that ties him to Sevilla until 2020 - indicated that he was preparing to depart as he no doubt seeks to remain in Didier Deschamps' plans for the 2018 World Cup.
"My future is clearly elsewhere than in Seville," he said. "The only thing that disappoints me is the manner in which this is ending.
"It could be interesting for the club to sell me. There is always a business side, in football. But what bothers me is the way it's going. It had never been bad with a coach before. I never had that kind of problem."