Arsenal have been boosted in their pursuit of Spanish midfielder Isco following reports Real Madrid will sell their star for £25 million, but Borussia Dortmund have ruled out any chance of the Gunners signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Isco has struggled to retain a starting spot at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Spanish newspaper El Confidencial claimed Real president Florentino Perez will listen to offers in excess of £25 million (h/t the Mirror's Aaron Flanagan).
Arsenal have long been linked with a move for the 23-year-old, who has scored three goals and made seven assists in 23 appearances for Los Blancos this season.
Isco has been a fringe figure at Real Madrid of late, but new manager Zinedine Zidane has started the Spain playmaker in each of his three Liga games thus far. This led Isco to hint he's enjoying his football more under the Frenchman, per Spanish daily AS: "We always try and play as well as we can. Maybe we understand better what Zidane wants from us, and it shows on the pitch."
However, the chances of any players leaving Real Madrid seem slim at the moment given Los Merengues are set to serve a two-window transfer ban that will prevent them from registering new players until the end of the 2016-17 campaign. New players can still be registered in the current window, but the Liga giants will surely want to keep their more important squad members with the sanctions looming.
Arsenal took former Real Madrid talisman Mesut Ozil to the Emirates Stadium for a figure of £42.5 million in the same summer that Isco arrived at the Bernabeu.
Elsewhere, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has reiterated that star striker Aubameyang is not for sale.
According to Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke, even a fee verging on world-record status wouldn't seal his exit:
Pete O'Rourke @SportsPeteO
Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says they would not sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang even if a club were to offer €100 million. #bvb2016-1-25 12:08:22
The former Saint-Etienne star is in the best form of his life and boasts a record of 27 goals in 28 games for the Black and Yellows this season, leading Thomas Tuchel's side back to a potential title challenge.
Aubameyang recently told German daily Bild (h/t BBC Sport) he wouldn't be moving to Arsenal as rumours suggested, and he was even recorded telling a fan north London wouldn't be his next destination:
سألت اليوم اوباميانغ عن شائعات انتقاله لارسنال وكان هذا الرد. https://t.co/SJiHwux7Uf2016-1-13 19:53:32
Olivier Giroud has also come upon impressive form this season to give Arsenal a confident outlet in attack, but Gabon international Aubameyang is proving himself to be a scorer of altogether more elite standards.
Dortmund showed their tough resolve in the past by choosing to run Robert Lewandowski's contract down rather than sell him for a cheaper fee, and they look set to drive a hard bargain for Aubameyang, too.