Arsenal are atop the English Premier League table by a slim one-point margin over Manchester City, and for the Gunners to aid their efforts in maintaining that No. 1 standing, they must take advantage of the transfer opportunities ahead.
Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reports that Porto's Jackson Martinez is another option Arsenal are exploring in the event that the pursuit of Morata turns up empty.
Wenger's tenure has been characterised by conservatism in the transfer market, but this aggressive push is critical for the Gunners' chances to win now and retain hopes of capturing the EPL trophy in 2013-14.
Young star forward Theo Walcott ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a recent Arsenal victory, leaving the attack down one of its key playmakers. An official statement was released through the club's official website on Jan. 6 that stated Walcott would miss at least six months of action.
Arsenal & England forward Theo Walcott will miss the World Cup after being ruled out for six months with knee injury: http://t.co/XJOPU6LYTt— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 6, 2014
The 24-year-old speedster's loss eliminates a dynamic dimension from Arsenal's ability to exploit opposing defences. Wenger has a desire to acquire Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, per Mokbel, but that doesn't seem like a viable possibility:
Arsene Wenger would love to sign Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, who has a £32m buy-out clause. But with Atletico still involved in the Champions League and Costa aiming to win a place in Spain’s World Cup squad, it will be all but impossible to prise him from Madrid this month.
While it will be impossible to replace Walcott's athleticism, adding a player such as Morata or Martinez is something the Gunners absolutely must do.
What should the Gunners do in their latest transfer pursuits?
Morata makes sense as a loan option, because Real could see what they have in the 21-year-old on the big stage for a trophy-contending team. However, manager Carlo Ancelotti has said no one will be allowed to leave his club in January, per Wilson.
Porto are the reigning Primeira Liga champion in Portugal, with Martinez being a prolific scorer.
The good news, too, is that Martinez has expressed a preference to make the move to the Emirates, citing a longtime fondness for the Gunners franchise, as recorded by the Daily Mail's Ben Burrows on Jan. 4:
I cheered for Arsenal when I was a kid – I love their style of play. It’s flowing and open with a lot of first touch passes. It would be suitable for a player like me. If I get a chance to play for a high level club like Arsenal I wouldn't hesitate to accept it.
Burrows points out Martinez has 12 goals in 14 league matches this season, which would give Arsenal's lineup a boost with a 27-year-old player who is in fine form.
The ankle injury to Nicklas Bendtner has intensified the necessity to add more to the Arsenal attack. Wenger even said just days ago on Jan. 4 that it would keep him out for a month, per the club's official Twitter account:
Wenger: "Bendtner [is out] for one month." #AFCvTHFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 4, 2014
However, Bendtner himself took to Twitter on Wednesday, Jan. 8, to say he'd return to the pitch soon:
Game ready before bed. Back soon. #23— Nicklas Bendtner (@bendtnerb52) January 8, 2014
That is a relieving development, as is the resumption of training for winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which the Gunners tweeted photo evidence of on Wednesday as well:
The apparent impending returns of Bendtner and Oxlade-Chamberlain don't diminish the importance of Arsenal adding at least one more piece on the attack.
There is no guarantee that Bendtner will be fit enough in making such a quick turnaround from what appeared to be a long-term injury. Oxlade-Chamberlain is also coming off a long hiatus and will have to shake off some rust.
A heavier onus will be on Olivier Giroud to carry the scoring load as chemistry is established on the front line.
But to gear up for a stretch run and an improved shot at their first EPL trophy since 2003-04, it behooves the Gunners to add another scorer to the mix.
Amid the uncertainty surrounding two key contributors who are just making their way back to the field, someone like Martinez who is certainly fit could provide a spark to help keep Arsenal atop the EPL. Meanwhile, the move would afford Bendtner and Oxlade-Chamberlain the luxury of easing back into action and minimizing the risk of re-aggravating their injuries.