Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé returned early from his post-World Cup vacation in a reported attempt to silence recent rumors of a move to Arsenal.
The 21-year old moved to Camp Nou last summer for a record fee of £135.5m, but struggled with injuries during his maiden season in Spanish football. Added to that a struggle for first team minutes and criticism from sections of the Barça faithful; a link away was inevitable.
Arsenal has been named as a potential suitor for the Frenchman but an article from the Spanish newspaper, Mundo Deportivo, have highlighted the player's decision to return early from holiday has come in order to stake a claim in Ernesto Valverde's starting eleven.
The report states that Dembélé wasn't expected back until after the Super Cup after his nation triumphed in Russia. However, it is believed the reason for Dembélé's urgency has a lot to do with Barcelona's acquisition of Malcom, which will bring competition for minutes this season.
Arsenal fans were given encouragement of a potential deal when forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's father, posted a photo on his Instagram with fellow Gunners teammates.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, new signing Matteo Guendouzi, and Alexandre Lacazette all featured, along with Dembélé - which caught the eye of many over social media.
Arsenal fans soon shared their optimism over a deal, as the London club have been looking to strengthen their options on both flanks after the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott last season.
A mega-money deal at this late stage of the window seems fairly unrealistic and with Dembélé's youth and potential, a premature sale would be seen as a mistake from the Spanish giants.
Dembélé and the Barcelona squad face Sevilla next Sunday in the Super Cup before kicking off their La Liga campaign at home to Alavés on August 18.