Arsenal Transfer News: Alvaro Morata a More Realistic Target Than Casemiro

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

Real's Alvaro Morata celebrates his goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu  stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki

Arsenal's pursuit of Alvaro Morata is reportedly regaining momentum alongside the Gunners' interest in fellow Real Madrid starlet Casemiro.

Although both players are struggling for game time at the Bernabeu, the developing needs of Carlo Ancelotti's La Liga giants ensure Morata's move is more likely to be sanctioned. John Cross of the Mirror provides the latest details on a saga that has run since January:

Arsene Wenger is set to land Alvaro Morata – as long as he and Arsenal agree to a 'buy-back clause'.

[...] Real are believed to be ready to do business for around £8million, on the condition they can buy Morata back at a fixed price in two years’ time.

The buy-back clause may worry Arsenal fans who wish to see Morata develop into an Emirates great. Madrid inserted this detail into Dani Carvajal's contract when he moved to Bayer Leverkusen in 2012. Los Blancos snapped him up for an agreed fee after just one impressive season, returning him to the capital after a year's worth of successful development.

Morata has started just two games in the Spanish top flight and Champions League this campaign, per WhoScored. The excellence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema often keeps the 21-year-old sitting on the bench, a residency that has become common alongside this year's emergence of Jese Rodriguez.

Back in January, talkSPORT charted Jese's sudden rise to prominence and what it spells for Morata:

Evidently, things aren’t looking great for Morata at Madrid these days if he hopes to play regular football until the end of the season. Karim Benzema is a fundamental part of Carlo Ancelotti’s system, while Jese is now the Italian’s favoured alternative to the French striker, so a loan move increasingly looks the most viable option for the U21 European champion.

Despite a season-ending injury limiting Jese's recent output, he is part of Madrid's cut-and-thrust forward line that Morata is looking increasingly out of place in. Arsenal would be a fruitful development ground for the young talent whose class on the ball ensures he naturally fits into the smart passing play of Wenger's side.

While Casemiro also appears surplus to requirements at present, the Brazilian's stock is growing in Madrid. Cross suggests Arsenal have "made enquiries" for the midfielder's services and are interested in securing a summer deal for the 22-year-old.

Casemiro has started just one game in the league and Europe, but his qualities are beginning to announce themselves when he comes on as a substitute. The ball-winning midfielder looks to have settled after a torrid time with Sao Paulo in which both his attitude and fitness were questioned.

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 11: Carlos Casemiro (R) of Real Madrid CF competes for the ball with Gabi Fernandez (L) of Atletico de Madrid during the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calder
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Should he remain dedicated, he can become a key player in Ancelotti's midfield. At 32 years old, Xabi Alonso's tenure isn't destined to carry on much longer. Despite never being the most mobile of players, Ancelotti is likely to favour more athletic individuals along his quest for fast-paced, attacking football.

With Sami Khedira also likely to make way at the end of the season, reported by the Mirror, Casemiro's responsibility is likely to heighten across the coming year. Madrid took a real chance when signing the out-of-favour Brazilian; it would be pointless to quickly move him on, especially as the youngster has proven he can do a solid job.

As such, Arsenal appear more likely to land Morata than Casemiro. Both players can add quality to the Gunners' squad, but Wenger should be hunting Madrid's unneeded striker with the greatest intensity. Although a buy-back clause isn't the most appealing, Wenger may be able to convince the player to stay by showing him loyalty and providing plenty of first-team chances.

It seems Arsenal and Madrid are destined to do some kind of business at the end of the season—adding to the recent agreement for Mesut Ozil—but supporters of the North London club shouldn't get their hearts set on completing a summer double-swoop for Madrid's young talents.