It increasingly seems less a question of if Alvaro Morata will leave Real Madrid this summer, but a question of where the young striker will go.
At one point he was billed as Real Madrid's riposte to Barcelona's regular stream of talented youth emerging from the Masia; however, it doesn't currently look like he will live up to that headline—not for now anyway.
That is, in part, down to the development of Jese Rodriguez.
After the turn of the year, Jese forced himself into the first team, only to see his season cruelly ended by injury just as Real fans were beginning to get excited.
Jese's injury did re-open the door for Morata, but despite the odd goal off the bench in heavy wins and two on the final day of the season against Espanyol, the consensus is that he didn't do enough to impress the Los Blancos' management.
It's agreed that his career is best served elsewhere; the hold-up is that Madrid want to maintain a hold over him due to the fear that he eventually fulfils some of his potential.
To varying degrees, in the past they have been stung by the success of Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, Juan Mata and more, and they don't want to be seen to make another error of judgement by letting Morata slip out the back door on the cheap.
And it appears they have learned their lesson on this front, as witnessed by the development of Dani Carvajal at Bayer Leverkusen and Madrid exercising their right to re-sign after a season away.
Ideally, the club would like a similar deal in place before they let Morata go—or a load of cash.
The 21-year-old, who came on as a substitute in the Champions League final, had appeared set for Juventus, but his current club have this week denied reports he will move to Italy this summer.
"The possibilities that [Morata] goes to play in Turin this summer are zero," Madrid president Florentino Perez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, per Paul Collins of The Daily Mail.
Following frustration after frustration in his bid to bring Morata to London, Arsene Wenger has, as reported by John Cross of The Mirror, played his last card in his bid to lure the Spanish Under-21 international to The Emirates by contacting a high-profile member of the Madrid coaching staff:
Wenger has spoken directly with Zinedine Zidane [Carlo Ancelotti's No. 2] in a desperate attempt to broker a deal for Morata.
Arsenal have been unable to agree a deal after Real Madrid demanded a buy-back clause after three years—or £25 million for a straight cash deal.
Wenger is hoping Madrid legend [and fellow Frenchman] Zidane will help get the deal over the line. He would want a cheaper straight cash arrangement and will hope they can see it is better for Morata's development.
For once, Wenger's resilience to enter into an agreement is perhaps correct.
Morata has done little so far in his career to demand such an expensive fee, while Arsenal are too big to allow themselves to be seen as club merely gardening Madrid's young players ahead of prospective returns to the Bernabeu.
You have to imagine—hope, even—that the European Champions will eventually soften their stance on Morata.
Next season he will be at an age where he needs to be playing regular football, or he risks stalling even more than he has done over the past 18 months.
There's a long summer ahead, though, and Los Blancos aren't a club who will be seen to give in easily to the demands of other clubs—Wenger will have to bank on the sway of Zinedine Zidane if he wants this deal tied up soon.