For long spells of the 2013-14 campaign, Arsenal’s attacking forays did occasionally look a little one-dimensional.
With the drive of Aaron Ramsey and the blistering directness of Theo Walcott absent for significant portions of the season due to injury, the Gunners would often play intricate passing football, but without a cutting edge comparable to their major rivals.
You suspect it’ll be something Arsene Wenger is desperate to sort out in the transfer market this summer. After their FA Cup triumph, Arsenal will be looking to build on that success and push for more illustrious honours in the upcoming campaign.
To do that, they’ll need a squad that can comprehensively cope without the likes of Ramsey and Walcott; it’s imperative they have dynamism in reserve. Here’s the very latest on two players who have been linked with a move to the Emirates.
Long-term Arsenal target Morata looks set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, and talks have reportedly opened with Juventus over a deal.
That’s according to Ernesto Bronzetti—Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s right-hand man—who told Tuttosport (h/t Alvaro Olmedo of Marca) that the wheels are well in motion on a deal:
The process is underway, but I am expecting the negotiations to take some time. Morata won't leave Real until they have secured a replacement.
The talks are being conducted according to the Carvajal model: Real Madrid would be able to bring him [Morata] back after a year.
Bronzetti is referring to Real Madrid’s right-back Dani Carvajal, who was sold to Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 but then brought back after 12 months after impressing in Germany; Los Blancos had insisted on a buy-back clause being part of the deal.
It would seem wise for Madrid to include a similar stipulation in Morata’s contract should he move on, for he is a player with heaps of potential but without the playing time to flourish. He is an elegant centre-forward who can dribble, link the play well and score goals. Here are some of his best moments in a Madrid shirt:
Arsenal have long been linked with a move for the player, per Anthony Chapman of The Express, but it looks as though the Italian champions are in pole position. However, there’s no guarantee Morata will start games in Turin either, with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente also competing for a sport in the first XI.
For the Gunners, this is a deal best avoided. It’s clear Real are looking to retain some interest in the player and if Morata was to prosper at Arsenal then be brought back to the Bernabeu after one year, Wenger would be back to square one in his striker search.
Angel Di Maria
The versatile Di Maria could be set for a pay rise with the European champions amid reports that aside from Morata, no player will be sold before the World Cup.
According to Marca, Perez and Carlo Ancelotti are keen to preserve the core of the side that helped Los Blancos to their tenth European crown, a feat in which Di Maria was a vital component.
That news will come as a blow to Arsenal, who were put on red alert when the player said he was “hurt” about being linked with a move away from Real Madrid, per Charles Perrin of The Express.
If the Gunners were able to construct a deal for Di Maria, it would be a fine signing. Not only does he bring blistering speed, wonderful close control and remarkable industry to a team, but he’s showcased a penchant for performing in big games this season too.
Here's some of Di Maria's best moments from the campaign:
The Argentinian was outstanding in both a wide role and—toward the back end of the campaign—an orthodox central midfield role for Ancelotti’s team; this despite many feeling he’d eventually become surplus to requirements when Gareth Bale arrived at Madrid last summer.
After the Champions League final, Di Maria was quick to thank Ancelotti for sticking with him when everyone else wanted him out, as noted here by Dermot Corrigan:
His levels of versatility and quality of performances have seen Di Maria establish himself as a key member of this Madrid outfit. With that in mind, not to mention the news that the former Benfica man could be set for a pay rise, it is extremely difficult to see Arsenal getting a look in.