Arsenal have until the end of next week to reach an agreement with Bolton over the signing of Gary Cahill or they will have to wait until the January transfer window for their next opportunity to capture the England defender.
Manager Arsene Wenger has been particularly lethargic in completing his signings this summer and has already missed out on leading transfer target Ricardo Alvarez to Inter Milan.
Although Gervinho is expected to agree terms at the Emirates, it is a central defender that remains towards the top of their shortlist.
Blackburn’s Christopher Samba and Cahill have both been linked with a move to Arsenal for numerous weeks, but progress appears to have been scarce in the chase for the duo.
However, a source close to the negotiations between Arsenal and Cahill has indicated that Bolton have issued an ultimatum to Wenger in order to push through the deal.
The source said: “Bolton want the deal done as soon as possible so they have plenty of time to make preparations for the new season without Cahill and formulate their transfer strategy.
“Basically, they want it all sorted out by the end of next week and if it isn’t, then they might close the door on any deal until the next window.”
Cahill has a £17m minimum fee release clause in his Bolton contract, which is a value that Owen Coyle is holding out for and Arsenal are reluctant to meet.
Arsenal are thought to be willing to pay closer to £15m for the 25-year-old, but reports suggest that they are keen to include some of their youngsters as part of the deal, such as Henri Lansbury and Carlos Vela.
It is 8/1 in the Premier League odds that Arsenal win the title this season, but their bigger challenge may be retaining their position in the top four, which they are 4/7 to do.