Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has quashed speculation over a possible move for John Stones, who he worked closely with at Manchester City.
The England international defender has struggled to command a regular place in Pep Guardiola's City side, with injuries playing a significant part in what's been a disjointed campaign for the 25-year-old.
Even when he has been fit, Stones has not always been first choice. Fernandinho has been favoured in the heart of defence as a makeshift centre-back, leaving the former Everton defender to rotate with Nicolas Otamendi and even Rodri at times.
Eric Garcia's emergence in City's team could limit his game time further, but Arteta - who worked as City's assistant manager for three years - insists that he's not looking to reunite with Stones at the Emirates Stadium, despite his obvious quality.
“I worked with him for many years and I know him well, and obviously when I look at centre-backs he has got many attributes that I like from one.
“But we are not interested in him.”
Arsenal's fall from grace has continued this season, leading to the sacking of previous head coach Unai Emery in late-November. The Spaniard oversaw a disastrous run of results towards the end of his tenure, and was criticised for how he had set his team up defensively.
The Gunners have tightened up since Arteta's appointment - conceding just four times in five games - but have struggled to put together a sequence of wins, picking up just one league victory in four outings.
Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Calum Chambers and Sokratis are Arteta's current options in central defence, but each have suffered from lapses in concentration this season. Stones would undoubtedly add quality to the backline, but question marks remain over his consistency - after a number of error-strewn displays.
Arteta's immediate focus may lie with pursuing PSG full-back Layvin Kurzawa, as well as working out how to get the best out of Mesut Ozil - after the German confirmed he would remain in north London after a troubled spell under Emery.