Alvaro Morata Transfer Would Be Good Step for Arsenal, but Not Enough for Title

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid FC scores Real's third goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and RCD Espanyol at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on May 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Arsenal's transfer business has already gotten underway with the news that reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has departed on a free to Swansea City, but the Gunners are also said to be making inroads toward their first incoming deal.

Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata is once more the subject of their attentions, with Matt Law of the Telegraph reporting that Arsene Wenger's side have opened talks with the new European champions over a transfer.

Bringing in a new forward is of course one of the Gunners' priorities and Morata would be a fine first move—but if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season, this transfer not the only one they need to make.



A mobile forward who prefers to play centrally but has also featured from the left, Morata is a typical penalty-area striker—his first touch and vision improve immeasurably once the ball is coming toward him inside the 18-yard box. One touch, a shift of stance to set himself and a finish; that is Morata at his best and his most effective.

He is not usually the kind of player to get involved heavily in link-up play and by comparison to those around him, he is stilted and obvious in that regard, but given he has one of the most formidable attacks in the game alongside him at Real, perhaps that is not a just appreciation of his play in deeper areas.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - APRIL 05:  Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Anoeta on April 5, 2014 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Neither extremely quick nor skilful with the ball at his feet, Morata's great assets lie in his ability to find space, to make a run unnoticed beyond the defensive line between centre-backs and in backing himself to find the net with few opportunities.

He netted eight league goals for Real in 2013-14, from 35 shots (as per Squawka)—a 29 percent conversion rate.



What does the striker bring to complement, or compete against, current first striker Olivier Giroud?

Well, the threat of his first team place is obviously one thing. There is no need for Morata to swap the bench of Real Madrid, Champions League winners, for the bench of a lesser club. He'll move where he has a chance to start at least 15-20 league games a season, or else he may as well remain where he is.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Giroud is good at holding the ball up, he drops deep to leave spaces in behind for others to attack and is a force in the air, all parts of his game which Morata can still work on. Morata has perhaps the better movement going forward and acceleration, especially to the near-post area, and despite the absence between the duo of all-out pace, they could provisionally work together in a two up top, as Wenger has opted to turn to on a few occasions, notably the FA Cup final.


Arsenal's Attack

The point about Giroud dropping deep to create space is an interesting one because Arsenal don't take advantage of it enough. Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might make bursts forward into those gaps, but Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and the like—none of those regularly look to get beyond the striker.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on in victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

An interesting alteration for certain matches might be to field Morata from a left-sided starting position, with the instruction to dart centrally when Giroud makes his little movements into the attacking midfield area. It's not ideal as a regular solution, but is one possibility.

Arsenal's attack, without Theo Walcott, can lack pace and directness. They could do with a forward of Walcott's mould but regularly used centrally, rather than from the right wing. Whether Wenger believes he has room in his squad for three strikers—even without counting the goalless Yaya Sanogo—is another matter, but even though Morata might bring goals to the Gunners, he won't bring enough all-round increase in the team's game to bring them a title.