Arsenal are facing a monumental fight to snap up talented Argentinian Lautaro Martinez with Atletico Madrid reportedly the favourites to sign him.
The Gunners had hoped to seal a deal to bring the Racing Club starlet to north London, according to talkSPORT, but they may be pipped to his signature after Atletico jumped to the head of the queue.
Los Rojiblancos are said to have had a £10.75m bid for Martinez accepted by his current employers, but Racing's president Victor Blanco revealed that they had rebuffed all advances for the striker's services thus far.
He said: "We received an offer from Atletico of €12.75m, plus a 10 percent surplus value of a future sale, for Lautaro Martinez but Racing turned it down.
"We want to get together on Monday or Tuesday with Lautaro's agent to discuss this and make a definite decision. I spoke with him and I can guarantee that Lautaro is going to continue with us until June."
That rejection could give Arsenal fresh hope in their efforts to lure Martinez to the Emirates, but Atletico will surely return with an improved bid for the 20-year-old once the winter transfer window opens.
Lautaro Martinez is ridiculous. Hopefully he gets at least one more season in Argentina to develop— aaron (@ReDiCampania) December 3, 2017
Arsenal are believed to have been scouting Martinez for the past two seasons after he first caught the eye of their South American-based scouts back in 2015.
The Under-20 Argentina international has bagged eight goals in 33 senior appearances for his club, including three in five matches so far this term.
A metatarsal fracture caused Martinez to miss the early weeks of the campaign, but he has since recovered to start the last five league contests and starred in the 2-1 victory over rivals Boca Juniors - laying on an assist and scoring a goal against Racing's fellow Primera Division side.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a well-known advocate of giving youth a chance, and the potential arrival of Martinez could be seen as a future replacement for either Alexis Sanchez or Theo Walcott, who are reportedly set to leave in January.