It’s no secret that Arsene Wenger is currently after a striker to bolster the ranks at Arsenal. As of late, the French boss has been linked with loan moves for both Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, according to the Press Association via The Guardian, and Juventus’ Sebastian Giovinco, per Jamie Sanderson of Metro.
Whilst Arsenal fans certainly wouldn’t mind striking a deal for both of these exciting players, you suspect Wenger will make a solitary move before the window closes. And if it’s to be a straight choice between the two forwards, Wenger must pursue Morata in favour of Giovinco.
The injury suffered by Walcott seems to have convinced Wenger he needs to delve into the January window. Prior to the England man’s anterior cruciate ligament injury, the Frenchman was backing away from the idea of bringing in new faces, citing that they’d only bring in a "special player," per the London Evening Standard.
Now, things are different. Arsenal have naturally been linked with a plethora of forwards, but looking ahead it’s apparent that Wenger prefers a short-term fix.
Both Morata and Giovinco would be excellent acquisitions, but Morata is a player better tailored to Arsenal’s current requirements.
Italy international Giovinco would perhaps be the more direct replacement for Walcott. He has lightening pace, can play in a host of positions across the front and has a keen eye for goal. But—some might say like Walcott too—he does seem to lose composure in dangerous areas and lacks a little when it comes to his end product.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning from injury, Arsenal have a player currently on their books who could fill the hole left by Walcott. Granted, he couldn’t play as a centre-forward quite as well as somebody like Giovinco or Walcott could, but the Gunners typically only use Theo as a striker when in dire need.
“The Ox” can give Arsenal that dynamic presence that Walcott brings out wide. So that still leaves the Gunners lacking in depth when it comes to centre-forwards.
And that’s why Morata should be the much more seriously courted of the two players. The Spanish U21 is a striker who could slot seamlessly into the Arsenal squad both stylistically and in terms of human relationships.
|Morata vs. Giovinco Domestic Stats Comparison|
|Sebastian Giovinco||Alvaro Morata|
|Appearances (As A Substitute)||2 (6)||1 (9)|
|Average Shots Per Game||1.5||1.6|
|Average Key Passes Per Game||0.6||0.5|
|Average Dribbles Per Game||0.8||0.1|
Taking the second of those two points first, the personnel Arsenal have means that Morata’s arrival would be of no disruption to the squad dynamics. He will know Mesut Ozil well from his Madrid days, plus he has a trio of compatriots in Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla to help the bedding in process. Morata wouldn’t necessarily be the main man, but he would provide major competition for Giroud and surely see plenty of action with the Gunners still challenging on three fronts.
But primarily, he is a wonderful young striker hungry for game time. Despite Real Madrid only having one senior forward in Karim Benzema, Morata has found himself short of minutes this season. The emergence of Jese Rodriguez has also left Morata behind him, Benzema and the rest of Real Madrid’s star-studded forward players in the pecking order.
It is, of course, no slight on Morata that he finds himself out of favour with such a wealth of talent at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal. But any ambitious young player in the same situation will be striving for minutes like Morata is himself, per Sky Sports:
Real Madrid have been my team since I was little and will be all my life, but I think the important thing is to have a relevant role in the team.
If I ever feel that's not the case, I would look at other options. In football, it's very difficult to stay at the top and even more so in a team like Real.
As a player, the Spanish U21 international has a little bit of everything about him. His somatotype will see him through in the raucous environment of the Premier League. In addition, when you consider his fine touch and clever movement, Morata has all the tools to be a short-term, or even longer-term, success in England.
If there is any stumbling block in this deal, it’s Real Madrid’s reluctance to do any business in the January window. Carlo Ancelotti has been quoted by the Press Association via The Guardian as saying no players will come in and none will depart during the month, but we all know managers are prone to a bit of fabrication every now and then, especially at this time of year.
If Ancelotti is true to his word, then perhaps Giovinco could be a better option. But first and foremost, the Gunners must do their utmost to secure the signature of Morata on a short-term basis. Doing so will give their title crusade a much more realistic chance of success.