Arsenal have rejected an offer from Manchester City for Alexis Sanchez, and are insisting on a fee of over £70m or a player coming in return before they even countenance the Chilean going.
hile that remains a hardline stance, sources close to City believe that it also reflects a significant softening of the Emirates hierarchy's position on a deal, following direct contact between the clubs.
City made an official approach on Tuesday morning, but Arsenal insisted a player come in return, with the names of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero mentioned.
The Manchester club are unwilling to let either player go, but are "confident" they can get a cash-only purchase done before Thursday's transfer deadline.
With Sanchez currently on international duty for Chile, City have a legal and medical team on standby in the country as a precaution in case a deal is struck over the next two days, so there would be minimal time wasted in trying to get all of the formalities of any deal done.
However the City hierarchy would like a cash only deal as they do not want to lose a club icon like Aguero, while Sterling is seen as an asset for the future.
The situation also remains skewed by the fact Sanchez is now said by sources close to him to be "desperate" to leave the Emirates in this window, marking a conspicuous shift from a recent acceptance that he might have to see out the last year of his contract.
Arsenal could be in for a long 48 hours as a host of their players have been linked with moves away from the Emirates before tomorrow's transfer deadline.
As well as Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly close to securing a deal to leave the club with Chelsea closing in on his signature.
Meanwhile, it is understood West Brom have agreed a fee with the Gunners to take left-back Kieran Gibbs to the Hawthorns.
Manager Arsene Wenger - who has spoken for weeks about the need to trim his squad - is already under pressure after Sunday's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Brazilian defender Gabriel was sold to Valencia last week and, as well as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanchez, there are several other players who may leave.
Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Debuchy could also be sold but, while striker Lucas Perez has been told he can leave, the Spaniard may now remain at the club as a deal with Deportivo La Coruna - his former side and preferred option - is still some way off.
With the future of so many of the current squad still uncertain, Wenger may yet seek to add new recruits.
West Brom defender Jonny Evans has been mooted as a potential target although it is understood any deal is separate to that which could see Gibbs move north.
An abject performance in losing so heavily at Anfield has already seen pressure begin to build on Wenger - who signed a new two-year deal in May amid protests against his continued reign.
Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright says it is time for Wenger to bring an end to his over two-decade spell at the helm of the London club.
Wright said on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Where do we start? The amount of things that are going wrong, it does come back to Arsene Wenger's door.
"We're three games into the season and we're literally at crisis point.
"Do I think he should go? I would like him to go simply because I do not believe now that Arsene Wenger can motivate those players with everything that's going on above him.
"And the way the players are performing on the pitch, for him to turn this around.
It's for himself, for his own sanity. We are three games in and it's already an absolute nightmare.
"Where does he go from here?"