Atletico Madrid have been left disappointed by Mikel Arteta's late bid for Thomas Partey.
The midfielder has been a long-term target for Arsenal but his €50m (£45m) release clause was deemed too hefty in recent months.
However, the north London side have changed their stance, agreed to cough up the required cash and are now trying to land the 27-year-old hours before the summer transfer window slams shut.
And Atletico have been left disappointed by the 11th hour swoop from the Gunners.
AFP reporter Tom Allnutt tweeted: "Atletico didn't know until late this afternoon Thomas' release clause about to be met after Arsenal previously said it was too high.
"Disappointment but not so much anger/shock.
"Club knew it was a possibility without a new deal and feel €50m still a decent fee in this window."
Partey's arrival would be a huge coup for Arsenal, while leaving Diego Simeone short in the middle of the park.
However, reports in Spain suggest Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha could arrive with the funds received.
As for Arsenal, Arteta had also been eyeing a move for Houssem Aouar and Jorginho in the closing stages of the window.
But club hero Paul Merson is happy to see his former side bring Partey in for £45m.
"I think he's a top draw player," Merson said on Sky Sports.
"I nearly fell off my chair, £45million, I don't think that's a lot of money, at all for the quality of player you are getting here.
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"The one thing he brings as well. Discipline.
"He has played at Atletico Madrid, who are one of the most disciplined teams in Europe and he would do that.
"He's not a midfield player who goes running all over the place and you are thinking 'where has he gone?'.
"He is very disciplined. I think he would be a great signing."
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