Arsene Wenger has been dealt a blow in his pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk ace Douglas Costa after the Ukrainian champions confirmed their creative force has returned to first-team training.
The Brazilian was one of six Brazilians who had refused to join back up with his club following a friendly fixture in Lyon, but the official Shakhtar Twitter account confirmed his attendance in a Kiev training session on Tuesday:
The South American contingent had initially travelled back to their native Brazil in response to the political struggles currently unravelling between Ukraine and Russia.
Costa may still be adamant to leave the club, however, and Gerard Meagher of The Guardian suggests that the Gunners are eager to tie up a £15.8 million deal.
His renegade status may have made negotiations easier for the Gunners in a way, an audacious form of scare tactic that could have loosened Shakhtar's grip on their player.
However, with the club in no immediate need of a sale and four years remaining on the player's contract, Costa's arrival may be far more difficult to facilitate than the North Londoners had previously anticipated.
To have Costa back within their ranks, Shakhtar Donetsk can now go about rebuilding any bridges that may have been damaged as a result of the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, thought to be the prime concern of Costa and his teammates.
The 23-year-old has opened up about his fears of playing under such circumstances, per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today): "I like the club, the people, the city, but I'm afraid. We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions."
With no certain end date to the issues in Ukraine, the club can only offer their players so many assurances of how matters will improve, but Costa is nonetheless contracted for a great period of time.
For Sky Sports South American correspondent Paulo Freitas, Costa ranks above his teammate and countryman Alex Teixeira as a transfer prospect:
@J4FN1 I prefer Douglas Costa but either of them would be a good signing.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) July 24, 2014
Wenger has already rebuffed his wide ranks in signing Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona this summer, but the wings and attacking midfield would be given a further boost if Costa were to arrive.
The Gunners must now assess their chances of signing the playmaker, deciding whether or not the player is worth the hunt in what could become a difficult saga to overcome.