Arsene Wenger's reported desire to bring in Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata on loan for the remainder of the season has taken a hefty setback after Carlo Ancelotti insisted his starlet is going nowhere.
Pete Jenson and Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail quote the Bernabeu boss saying:
"We have not changed our idea at all. Morata stays here and he has not told us that he wants to leave."
Wenger also calmed talk of Morata's arrival during Friday's press conference, per the Press Association via the Guardian:
Nothing has changed because we are open to a possible solution and if something interesting turns up we will do it. It could be a loan as well yes. We are not in talks with Real about anybody.
Ancelotti was speaking in the wake of Real's 2-0 win over Osasuna in the first leg of their Copa del Rey encounter, with Morata playing a 10-minute cameo.
The Mail report goes on to voice the concerns of a worried Wenger, who recently lost Theo Walcott for the remainder of the season to injury, and admits reinforcements are all the more necessary as a result:
Walcott’s injury has accelerated speculation first and, of course, my desire (in the transfer market) as well. Up front we have lost Theo as a potential central forward and that’s maybe where we have to look outside.
We are there for the opportunities but it’s very difficult at the moment.
Morata's arrival would give the North Londoners another option up front, with Olivier Giroud having to hold the line almost single-handedly for the first half of the season.
In that space of time, the Frenchman has racked up eight goals and five assists in 18 of a possible 20 Premier League starts, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
However, Morata is still a raw talent at just 21 years of age, and it's debatable as to how much impact he'd make on Arsenal's chances of maintaining their good start in pursuit of silverware this season.
It's a notion that the New York Times' Graham Ruthven has supported on Twitter:
Let's just say Morata does go to Arsenal, is he going to displace Giroud? I'd say probably not.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) January 9, 2014
Morata has made only six La Liga starts in his career thus far, per Transfermakrt.co.uk, and is still yet to be farmed out on loan. Los Merengues appear to prefer to keep the youngster on the fringes of the first team.
Is a loan bid for Morata the answer to Arsenal's issues?
Morata did impress at last summer's Under-21 European Championships, scoring four goals and making two assists in just four matches according to Transfermarkt.co.uk, two of those goals being match-winning efforts on the path to Spanish glory.
It's that kind of promise that Ancelotti looks eager to exploit himself, although some time away from the Spanish capital would arguably give the player a better chance of developing his obvious talents.
The starlet doesn't look likely to make his break into the Real starting setup this term, settling instead for cameo appearances in nine of his 10 La Liga games this term per Transfermarkt.co.uk, scoring two goals in the process.
Walcott's absence may well force Wenger's hand in attempting to secure attacking options this winter, but Ancelotti does not show any indication of entering a seller's market.