Arsenal's chances of signing Sami Khedira were heightened on Thursday after Bayern Munich stepped out of the race for the Germany international.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has dismissed reports in the Spanish media claiming his side are interested in the 2014 World Cup winner, per German press agency DPA (h/t ESPN FC's Ian Holyman).
Rummenigge is quoted saying: "That is pure speculation."
This statement of disinterest works in Arsenal's favour as they hope to agree a move with Real Madrid before the summer transfer window closes.
The Mirror's Ben Burrows cites Spanish reports in claiming Los Merengues would rather cash in on the German midfielder now, rather than allow him to move on a free transfer in a year's time.
Up until now, the Gunners are believed to have been prevented in making a move for Khedira due to his £150,000-a-week wage demands, but should Real come down to a more agreeable transfer sum, it would make the situation more bearable.
The player's agent Jorg Neubauer supports Rummenigge's denial. Neubauer recently told German television channel Sport1 (h/t Metro's Lee Hurley) his client is yet to hear from the Bundesliga champions.
Despite sitting out a hefty portion of the 2013-14 campaign with injury, Khedira completed a momentous World Cup and Champions League double last season, which OptaFranz reveals to be a rare feat:
10 - Sami #Khedira was the 10th player to win the European Cup/Champions League & World Cup in the same season. Medals.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) July 30, 2014
Having pinched Robert Lewandowski's services for free this summer, Der FCB's knack for finding cost efficiency in the market remains at its strongest, and the allure of moving back to his native Germany would surely have been tempting for Khedira.
What's the best option for Khedira ahead of 2014-15?
However, even with Toni Kroos now at the Santiago Bernabeu, one would feel the competition for places in midfield would be a lot tougher at the Allianz Arena than that of the Emirates Stadium.
It's no surprise that Real might look to cash in this year, either, and should Khedira be unwilling to pen an extension in the Spanish capital, it would serve them better to sell while they can.
That represents Arsenal's great hope.
Stan Collymore of talkSPORT offers Gunners fans some assurance over their potential signing, insisting the deal to push through his purchase is very much alive:
In terms of necessity, there's no doubt Arsene Wenger is keen to acquire the 27-year-old, but Arsenal's money men will need to work hard to strike the right deal.
If Khedira was to arrive in North London, his wages would eclipse that of this summer's earlier arrival Alexis Sanchez, not to mention those of club-record-signing Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have a decision to make in deciding whether the player's talents justify such terrific expense. Their need for a player of Khedira's qualities is clear, and an eventual Premier League title could rest on whether they land him.