Daily Archives: January 8, 2014

Transfer Rumors: Thoughts on Arsenal’s Link with Alvaro Morata

Arsenal is a team with good depth in midfield and some positions in defense but the team is surprisingly short of options in attack. The team has hinged all their hopes on Olivier Giroud and he hasn’t done too badly with a return of 11 goals thus far. There was also some bad blood between the team and Nicklas Bendtner after his proposed move to Crystal Palace was blocked but the Great Dane is working his way back to the team and he has been appreciated for his contributions.

There was the massive threat Theo Walcott posed as he was in a rich vein of form, scoring five goals in five league games. In the North London Derby, Walcott played as a center forward and did very well on the night before that ill-fated moment where he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament on his knee, and he’s going to be out for six months.

The support for the winger has been tremendous and his teammate, Carl Jenkinson, believes that he’ll come back stronger than ever. Arsenal can actually cope with the loss of Walcott because of the vast array of talent available at Arsene Wenger’s disposal. Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere have put good shifts on the right and the gaffer can also field Walcott’s direct replacements in the forms of Serge Gnabry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

There is also the option of buying a forward from the January Transfer Window but teams are on alert as Atletico Madrid have ruled out the sales of Diego Costa and Koke this transfer window, via the Mirror. They are battling hard with Barcelona for the Liga BBVA title and are not willing to lose their prized assets anytime soon.

The Daily Mail has reported that the Gunners are hastening their efforts to capture Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata on loan. It is believed that the Gunners have long-term targets in the summer but getting a player like Morata on the interim will serve as a temporary mitigation plan.

Loan target: Arsenal are keen on a short-term deal for the Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata, seen here after scoring against Levante back in October

The player rose to prominence following a series of impressive performances on youth level at the international scene. He was part of the Spanish Under-17 team that played in the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria. Morata scored a couple of goals that helped his team go all the way to the semis, before they were thrashed 3-0 by the hosts, Nigeria (I watched the game live at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Stanley Okoro was on fire). Spain won the third-placed match to return with the bronze medal.

Two years after, Morata was involved in the Spanish Under-19 team that won the 2011 UEFA Under-19 European Championship, and he won the Golden Boot after scoring six goals. Morata’s rise in the Spanish youth ranks continued as he was part of the Spanish Under-21 squad that won last year’s UEFA Under-21 European Championships in Israel. He was also the top goal scorer.

He hasn’t been capped at the senior level but his time will definitely come.

At Real Madrid, Morata began his career in Real Madrid Castilla and he has notched up a couple of appearances for the first team but even after the sale of Gonzalo Higuain which made Karim Benzema the alpha-dog in the team’s attack, the emergence of Jese Rodriguez has further diminished his chances of playing first-team football. Morata has only started one game this season with his other nine appearances coming from the sub’s bench.

The prospect of playing regular football again will be appealing to Morata and his chances at Arsenal will be aided with the fact that Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner aren’t available for selection at the moment. He’s a tall lad that can be a force to be reckoned with in the air and with the creativity in Arsenal’s midfield, he’d get his fair share of goalscoring opportunities.

Morata is a highly-rated youngster that has excelled at youth level and Arsenal can give him the platform to develop his career with the opportunities Wenger always give to youngsters at the top level. He’s good in the air and at holding up the ball, with clinical finishing ability and excellent movement, Morata drew comparisons to legendary Real Madrid and Spain player Fernando Morientes due to his style.

The question is – will he be willing to take a punt of having a six-month spell in the Premier League, or is it really fun hanging out on the bench on a regular basis?

I’ll keep you updated as things unfold.


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