Rayan Cherki has rejected the chance to sign for Arsenal in a £17,000-a-week deal, with the Lyon wonder-kid accepting a lower offer from Real Madrid instead, according to Defensa Central.
The French club is no stranger to seeing their most talented prospects spirited away. But at least Karim Benzema, Tanguy Ndombele, Hatem Ben Arfa and Alexandre Lacazette were first-team regulars by the time they packed their bags and departed the banks of the Rhone.
Lyon-born teen Cherki, on the other hand, is just six games into his Ligue 1 career. But, with the football season brought to a premature conclusion in France, one of the hottest young attackers in Europe already appears to have played for his boyhood club for the last time.
Madrid-based publication Defensa Central claims that Cherki has a pre-contract agreement with La Liga giants Real.
It is no secret that the Les Bleus youth star dreams of pulling on the iconic white shirt of Los Blancos and, with that in mind, Arsenal always appeared to be barking up the wrong tree despite their best efforts.
The report adds that the Gunners made an approach for Cherki over the weekend, with Arsenal offering him assurances of a first-team role under Mikel Arteta.
The North London giants also put forward a contract worth £17,000-a-week, only for Cherki to instead say yes to the £14,000-a-week offer tabled by Real Madrid.
If there is one positive Arsenal fans can take out of this situation, it is that they have assurances that the club is at least making an effort to snap up some of the game’s biggest young talents. Then again, with funds tight at the Emirates, they have no real choice but to look to the future.