Liverpool have turned down a £30m bid from Arsenal for striker Luis Suarez.
Suarez has been at the centre of transfer speculation since saying in May that it would be a "good moment for a change", and admitted it would be "difficult to say no" to Real Madrid.
The Spanish side had been expected to lead the pursuit of the 26-year-old Uruguayan.
Liverpool refused to comment on reports of Arsenal's move and have previously insisted Suarez is not for sale.
Phil McNulty's analysis
"Arsenal's approach for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is a sign of ambition but in reality is doomed to failure.
"Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a huge admirer of Suarez's wonderful attacking talent but too many obstacles make an actual deal look impossible.
"Liverpool will know only too well how it would be greeted by supporters if they sold their world-class striker to Arsenal and Suarez himself has publicly claimed his discontent comes from what he perceives - somewhat fancifully - as his harsh treatment by the English media.
"This surely rules out a move within the Premier League.
"Arsenal's interest in Suarez may reach the ears of those at Real Madrid - the striker's most likely next destination if he leaves Anfield - and remind them they are willing to pursue other targets as they try to get their own long-drawn out deal to prise Gonzalo Higuain away from the Bernabeu over the line."
However, it is understood an approach was made and instantly rejected.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Suarez and it remains to be seen if Arsenal take their interest further as manager Arsene Wenger continues to
finalise a deal for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain.
Real are expected to emerge as the most serious test of Liverpool's resolve not to sell Suarez unless they receive an offer in the region of the £50m which saw Fernando Torres move to Chelsea in January 2011.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains relaxed about Suarez's situation and the striker has yet to indicate to the club that he wishes to leave.
The Merseyside club's stance has always been that they have no desire to part with Suarez - and even if Liverpool's hand is forced by the player's own discontent they will not be pushed into a deal and will hold out for the maximum price.
Suarez is currently on a break after playing for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup in Brazil and is not scheduled to return to Merseyside until the end of the month, at which time his future should become clearer.
He will sit out the first six matches of the 2013-14 campaign after being found guilty of violent conduct for
biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic