Alvaro Morata Reportedly Sparks Manchester United and Arsenal Transfer War

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Alvaro B. Morata of Real Madrid CF controls the ball during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Elche CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 22, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Alvaro Morata is expected to be the subject of a summer bidding war after it emerged Manchester United are ready to rival Arsenal for the Real Madrid starlet's signature.

As reported by Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC, the Red Devils are expected to freshen up their attack at the end of the season, and Morata is high on David Moyes' wishlist:

Manchester United are the latest Premier League club to track Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, and sources have told ESPN FC that they are seriously considering making a bid for the player this summer.

[...] United have been looking at the player, and their interest indicates that changes in attack are planned this summer. Indeed, it is anticipated that Javier Hernandez will move on, most likely to Italy or Spain.

Morata's season has been hampered with frustration due to Madrid's extensive strength-in-depth—a situation made more difficult by the arrival of Gareth Bale and emergence of Jese Rodriguez—reducing the 21-year-old forward to just one start and 14 substitute appearances across La Liga and the Champions League, per

He has scored two inconsequential goals in 5-0 wins over Almeria and Real Betis, as well as a late equalising goal in the 3-2 comeback win over Levante. The important strike on Oct. 5 was his last to date, highlighting a youngster whose development is stuttering at the Bernabeu.

Old Trafford could be the perfect location for Morata. Moyes' team are undoubtedly in a transitional period and are expected to start with a clean slate in the summer. The Scottish boss will be looking for fresh, developing talent to begin building his new squad. He could offer Morata a realistic shot at regular first-team football.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30:  Alvaro Morata (R) of Real Madrid CF is tackled by Marc Valiente of Real Valladolid CF during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Valladolid CF at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on November 30, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The powerful striker is graceful, flaunts an excellent touch and is a smart distributor of possession. He is the kind of player who isn't afraid to try a quick flick or unorthodox pass to keep momentum building and is difficult to halt with the ball at his feet.

Morata is also dominant in the air and has the ability to be a lethal finisher, as noted by his run of four goals during Spain Under-21's triumph at Euro 2013, per Sam Adams of UEFA.

United could encounter complications when trying to sign Morata. At the top of the pile may be Arsenal's interest in the player, as reported by Bleacher Report UK guest columnist Guillem Balague:

The Madrid-born and academy-raised Spain Under-21 international has agreed personal terms with the Gunners, who have had him on their radar for quite some time, and tried to sign him during the January window (The Independent).

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 28:  Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid CF shoots towards goal under a challenge by Thibaut Courtois of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Bernabeu on September 28, 2013 in
David Ramos/Getty Images

Arsenal are likely to offer Morata Champions League football next season, something United are sure to miss out on. This could potentially be a major stumbling block for the current Premier League champions, but Moyes will hope the promise of future success and a favourable contract is enough to entice any of the world-class talents he stalks this summer.

Another potential stumbling block could be Los Blancos' reported asking price of £25 million, per Jamie Sanderson of the Metro, who says the deal "would not include any possible buy-back option for Madrid." While a potential world star in the making, Morata has done little to raise such a fee at this stage in his career.

He certainly has the potential to be worth that much at some point, but right now, both United and Arsenal would be wise to drive Morata's price down. The English clubs have an opportunity to land an extremely talented and exciting player if Madrid decide business can go ahead.

Morata is most definitely worthy of Premier League interest. If a tug-of-war is to take place, there's no doubt the winner will have snapped up one of football's most promising youngsters.