As time ticks towards the transfer deadline, and Arsenal only bringing in one signing ahead of the new season, the club would be better off steering clear of going down the path of a dead-end road.
And if the stalemate in their pursuit of Wilfried Zaha continues much longer without progress, Unai Emery may yet come to regret chasing the Ivorian for as long as he already has.
Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of the purported deal is the fact that Arsenal have supposedly only got £40m in the bank this summer, yet their opening bid of the same sum has seemingly not budged Crystal Palace – while money has already been spent in the capture of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli.
With only weeks remaining to get deals done, there will surely come a point where Arsenal would be better off ripping up plans to bring Zaha to The Emirates and aim for more attainable targets in his place.
There’s no point getting involved in a drawn-out slog for the Ivorian if the odds are against The Gunners pulling off the transfer. If it comes to being left with a choice between doing without either defensive reinforcements or going all-out-attack with Zaha, the latter would seem the wiser option on paper considering Arsenal’s attack was prolific enough last season.
Now that time doesn’t seem to be on Emery’s side, taking the difficult decision to end talks for Zaha may turn out to be the best course of action while it isn’t too late to work on other potential targets.
Should Arsenal end up with Zaha, and thus end the transfer window with two attacking additions, questions may be asked of Emery given the persistent shortcomings The Gunners experienced at the back last season (both in terms of errors and injuries).
That may lead to the hunt for Zaha’s signature to seem ill-advised in the first place, though if Arsenal had the means to replenish at both ends of the pitch, signing the 26-year-old would certainly add value through his goalscoring ability (10 last season) and his threat from wide areas – which The Gunners were lacking in during the last campaign.
But the truth is that Emery would do well to amass the resources to allow him to do that, not least because the sum of his reported budget has not been enough to bring in Zaha alone – and in risking the possibility of failing to add further through his desire for the winger, the manager is taking a huge chance in wasting the entire window by not making Arsenal a stronger outfit.
Therefore, perhaps his next best move might be to simply walk away.