Arsenal have not given up hope of convincing Karim Benzema to sign for the club this summer, report The Guardian, as they eye the game-changing transfer of the French international.
The paper claim that there is a crucial factor set to determine his future - whether he is selected to start Real Madrid's first two games of the season.
Benzema is currently nursing a minor injury but is expected to be fit - and the main obstacle in his path is Gareth Bale.
The Guardian report: "Much will rest on whether Benzema starts Real’s two fixtures before the 1 September transfer deadline or he finds himself as the odd man out."
The situation is complicated due to Gareth Bale's insistence he wants to play up front. After scoring in the Audi Cup in midweek, he told The Guardian he considers the striking role his best position, and has urged new boss Rafa Benitez to play him there.
If Benitez cedes to his request and plays the Welshman up front in Madrid's early games, it could just therefore be enough to push Benzema out.
Joy for Arsenal, disaster for Tottenham
Tottenham sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013, and Benzema could be the second player he has pushed out to bitter North London rivals Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil was sold to Arsenal 24 hours after Bale arrived at Madrid, as the Spanish side looked to balance the books.
The Telegraph later reported how Spurs chairman Daniel Levy attempted to insert a clause into Bale's sale which would have prevented Madrid selling Ozil to Arsenal, but was unsuccessful.
Ozil's sale was controversial at the time and dismayed a lot of Madrid fans and players, and it is one the La Liga side would not have dared sanction had they not signed Bale.
Now the potential Benzema deal is threatening to be another unpleasant after-effect for Tottenham, with the player a potentially a key factor in Arsenal clinching another £40 million plus deal, one which in the eyes of many would make them favourites to win the Premier League title.