Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, according to a John Cross report in the Mirror.
Morata, 21, has been linked with a loan move to Arsenal after finding his first-team opportunities limited at Real. However, Cross quotes him saying: "I have spoken to Carlo Ancelotti and know I am part of his plans. I am committed to succeeding at Real Madrid."
Spanish football expert Dermot Corrigan reported that Ancelotti is keen to keep the player as he views him as a good option to have in reserve:
Does seems as if Ancelotti doesnt want anyone to leave [see Di Maria, Morata too] as unsure of who he'd get as replacements...— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 16, 2014
The Spain Under-21 international has scored three goals in 13 appearances this season, per Soccerbase, but was expected to feature more regularly after finishing as the top scorer at the 2013 European Under-21 Championship in Israel, per UEFA.com.
A short-term loan was mooted, with Liverpool and Tottenham also reportedly interested, per James Dickenson in the Express, but it appears Morata is intent on fighting for his place at the Bernabeu.
However, an ESPN FC report claims Ancelotti remains keen to send Morata on loan in order for the striker to gain experience.
Karim Benzema is the preferred central striker at Real, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale add goals from wide positions, limiting the chances of Morata to establish himself.
The chance to test himself regularly is one that the striker should consider, but with any of the Premier League sides linked, he would not be a first choice and may find himself in a similar position to the one he is in at the moment.
It is only worth considering a spell away from the Bernabeu if it going to result in guaranteed playing time and the chance to continue developing, which is difficult for many clubs to offer given Morata's proven record at the top level already.
From the point of view of the clubs, the chance to sign a player of such promise, and with something to prove, is not to be missed.
Although Morata has declared he wants to stay at Real Madrid, Arsenal must continue to pursue him as he would add another dimension to their attack and aid their chances of winning the Premier League title.