Chelsea and Liverpool look set to battle it out to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after he turned down a new £180k-a-week deal at Arsenal, according to Sky sources.
Arsene Wenger held talks with the England midfielder on Thursday in a final attempt to persuade him to stay at the Emirates.
Sky Sports News understands Wenger will tell the player and his representatives in the next 24 hours whether he will allow him to leave before the window closes next week – or let him see out the final year of his contract at the club.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, capped 27 times by England, sees his future elsewhere, with Chelsea and Liverpool understood to be waiting in the wings, ready to tempt Arsenal with an offer well beyond the £30m offered by Chelsea earlier this month.
The player, who joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2011, is known to be unhappy playing as a wing-back, preferring a central or wide midfield role.
Wenger will be desperate not to sell to a Premier League rival but Arsenal will struggle to afford letting a prized asset leave for free next summer, especially with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in similar positions at the club.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.