Still on the hunt for a centre-forward with the necessary talent to replace Robin van Persie, Arsenal's plans to reinforce their squad have taken a bitter blow. After allegedly placing Gonzalo Higuain at the top of their summer shopping list Arsene Wenger will now have to start his search from scratch.
Finally, the Argentine No. 9 opted for a move to Napoli. alongside Liverpool's Jose Reina, and according to Sky Sports the pair underwent a medical on Wednesday afternoon. Spanish newspaper AS reports that the fee for Real Madrid's former star is around €37 million, and that his arrival is already causing a stir around the Southern Italian club.
It gets worse for Arsenal, who had been linked continually to Pipita since the start of the transfer window - at the start of July, The Guardian went as far to say he would be arriving in London for a medical. A merry go round of moves for top-class strikers is well in motion and increasingly it is leaving the Gunners behind.
Higuain's move was financed by the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain, who according to the BBC paid out a massive €64m for the privilege. The Uruguayan's exit allowed Napoli to enter the market in search of a replacement, to the detriment of Arsenal who have not managed to find a regular scorer since Van Persie parted for Old Trafford in 2012.
With one of their first-choice forward offloaded, meanwhile, Madrid can now enter the market for a new No. 9. None other than Luis Suarez, Liverpool's prolific but controversial forward and another Wenger target, is believed to be the first choice.
Having seen their chance to sign Cavani vanish, The Independent believes that the extra money swelling the Madrid coffers will now go towards meeting Liverpool's valuation for their Uruguayan goal machine. The Reds are looking for around £40m for Suarez, a price that should not pose a problem for the Merengue as they look to rebuild the squad under the direction of Carlo Ancelotti.
But where do Arsenal go from here? The same newspaper reported a rejected bid of £30m for Suarez, and it appears that the North London club would be reluctant to go higher. There is a real danger that the lack of a natural centre-forward which contributed towards a disappointing 2012-13 season could continue thanks to the disappearance of those top candidates.
A BBC report on Wednesday stating that Arsenal had won the right to talk to Suarez, after bidding a symbolic £40m plus one pound that nevertheless was rejected (the player's release clause only gives him the right to enter negotiations with another club, not that the deal will be accepted) show they are still in the fight.
Part of Liverpool's reluctance, however, appears to be a reticience in selling to a fellow Premier League club. If Real Madrid can entice Brendan Rodgers and seal a deal, the future up front begins to look rather bleak for the Gunners who are in desperate need of firepower.