Alvaro Morata – What can Arsenal expect?

Rumours seem to be growing about an agreed deal between Arsenal and Real Madrid over the 6 month loan signing of Spanish youth international Alvaro Morata in January. These rumours seem to of originated in a Spanish newspaper which many compare to the UK’s ‘The Sun’. They were thing picked up by The Daily Star, giving credence to the story. What will likely happen next is other more reputable papers in both the UK and Spain will pick up on The Daily Star’s story and run with it, giving the rumour even more legs.

Whether the deal is a ‘done deal’ yet is unlikely. Arsenal have been linked with 7 players since we started our A to Z of Transfer Speculation yesterday. What is the more likely story is Arsenal have agreed 1st refusal on the striker. That if he is available for loan, he will come to us first.

But if Arsenal do get the young striker, even for 6 months, what can they expect?

At 21, Morata has long been touted by the Real Madrid faithful as the next Raul. Not in a playing sense, but in a culture sense (He is more similar to style to Fernando Morientes). He is a Real Madrid born boy and has been at the club since 15. Whilst Barcelona have bought through the likes of Puyol, Xavi, Ineista, Valdes, Fabregas, Pique, Messi, Alba (via Valencia), Montoya, Busquets and Tello in recent years, Real Madrid have not provided a regular international to the Spanish National side since Casillas in 2000.

In a country still split with regional differences, it hurts Madridistas that over recent years, the majority of the Spanish side has been made up by Catalan’s, a region of Spain which do not accept they are Spanish. Morata is supposed to stop that rot, with him being pencilled in as a potential to lead Real Madrid’s line for the next decade, as well as break into the Spanish National side sooner rather than later.

Why would Real Madrid be looking to loan him in January? For the simple reason that he needs to play. With Karim Benzema currently number 1 striker, Morata has started just once in 12 appearances for Madrid this season. If he is to progress next season and take over the number 1 spot from Benzema, he needs to prove himself. With lack of opportunities at Madrid, the only option is a loan deal, and with the Spanish league so weak, a long deal abroad will be best.

Where does Arsenal fit in? Florentino Perez was very impressed with the way Arsenal handled themselves during the transfer negotiations with Mesut Ozil. Already a fan of Arsene Wenger, having attempted to prise him away from Arsenal numerous times, he knows Morata will be in safe hands with Arsenal. With Olivier Giroud as Arsenal’s only option upfront, Morata will get more playing time at Arsenal than at Madrid, and will benefit from top coaching. The physicality of the Premier League will also add something to Morata’s game which you do not get in Spain. 6 months in England could make him a very rounded striker for European competitions.

Morata is 6ft 3in. He is a giant of a man. He has the height of Oliveir Giroud, but not yet the core strength. This can be built into him though. To this physicality, he also adds pace. Quicker then Giroud, he might not be lightning, but he has enough pace that once he has turned his man, he can run away from him, similar to Robin Van Persie. What he also has is brilliant technique and skill, a given with Spanish players these days. He also has excellent movement, able to drift into space like a true poacher, and has the clinical finishing to match. With his physical attributes and technique, you can see why Real Madrid are keen to progress him.

Whilst he might not have much first team experience, 30 games for Real Madrid, scoring 4 goals, his appearances for Castilla (Real Madrid B) highlight his ability, scoring 45 goals from his 84 appearances. You can start to understand why Real Madrid want him to get more 1st team experience. He also scored 34 goals in a single youth season.

For Spain, his youth record is equally as impressive, scoring 23 goals in 24 games. He won the Golden Boot in both the u19 European Championship and u21 Euoprean Championship, leading the line to glory for Spain in both competitions.

If Arsenal do get Morata, they would have signed a very talented, but very raw striker. Whether he is what we need to push us to glory in January is inconclusive. He is certainly better equipped than both Bendtner (Who will surely leave if we get Morata in) and Sanogo, but good enough to take pressure of Giroud? That is up for debate. Especially taking into account his wage and whether he settles quickly.

Were we signing him on a permanent contract, I would be very happy, as he is clearly talented. A loan is a risk, although he will add depth. Also, if no one else is available in January who is of quality, it is perhaps better to not spend but see what is available in the loan market. Signing Morata would give us striking options of Giroud, Podolski.

If he does join, I hope we have an option to make the deal permanent, as Morata could become a very special player over the next couple of years.

Keenos

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