Arsene Wenger faces a battle to bring in his top striking target this summer, after Real Madrid confirmed Alvaro Morata will be on his way out of the club to gain some vital first-team experience.
But Gunners supporters expecting an additional swoop for legendary Los Blancos shot-stopper Iker Casillas will be disappointed, as the current European champions have stated they are not looking to cash in on their club captain.
Here’s the very latest on the Gunners’ pursuit of both players.
Alvaro Morata up for Grabs
Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that Morata will be allowed to leave the Santiago Bernabeu next season, alerting Arsenal and Tottenham to the prospect of acquiring the forward’s service.
According to Simon Jones of the Mail Online, the two North London outfits will battle Inter Milan for Morata, who has struggled for regular football at Madrid. At 21 years old, the player needs to be playing first-team football, something Ancelotti is appreciative of:
The player wants to look for an opportunity where he can play more and the club agrees with this. If he leaves it would be good that he would have the chance to play.
If Morata goes we have to think about getting a young forward with the same characteristics.
Stylistically, Morata would be a fine acquisition for Arsenal. He is quick, strong, technically adept and composed in front of goal. He’d provide staunch competition for Olivier Giroud and would be hungry to develop after spending plenty of time on the Madrid bench.
Here’s what the Emirates faithful could look forward to next season should the Spaniard join up:
But the length of the deal is crucial. If a loan deal is all that is available, Arsenal supporters are unlikely to get excited. It would seem a little strange if the Gunners were to pursue that kind of transfer, especially when Wenger has a reported £100 million budget at his disposal, per Sami Mokbel of the Mail Online.
If Morata did sign up on a temporary basis, while he may flourish for 12 months, Arsenal would find themselves in exactly the same position this time next year. With competition for his signature also apparently rife, Wenger would be best placed looking into more long-term alternative options.
Iker Casillas Going Nowhere
Arsenal’s bold pursuit of Real Madrid’s legendary keeper Casillas has been halted, after Ancelotti insisted the club have no intention of selling the player. The 33-year-old was ousted from the Madrid domestic starting XI by Diego Lopez last season and had to be content with starting games in the Champions League.
But despite his reduction in regular action, Ancelotti has confirmed Casillas is happy to stick around, per ESPN.co.uk:
The club has spoken to Casillas, who is very happy and is going to stay. We'll have to wait and see what happens next season in goal.
According to Anthony Chapman of the Express, Wenger had isolated the Spanish international as a top target for this summer, but the European champions look unlikely to dispense with a player who has become a Madrid legend.
AS also reported Arsenal’s interest in the Spanish captain, courtesy of RealMadridInfo:
Diario As's cover: "Arsenal want Casillas" pic.twitter.com/Z138cU72nZ— Real Madrid Info (@RmadridInfo) June 6, 2014
Casillas’ partner, Sara Carbonero, doesn't expect a move to occur, dismissing claims that the player could be on the move, telling El Mundo (h/t Anthony Chapman of the Express) “I expect my future to be in Madrid, which is where I am now.”
Do Arsenal need a new No. 1?
For Arsenal, luring Casillas to the Emirates was always going to be difficult. The player is a staunch Madridista, and even though he hasn't fared in the first team quite as often as of late, it’s difficult to see him playing for any side in Europe other than Real.
After losing Lukas Fabianski to Swansea, Wenger needs to bring in a goalkeeper that can provide ample back-up and strong competition to Wojciech Szczesny. The current Arsenal No. 1 is still learning as a goalkeeper and will only continue to improve as he gets more and more game time.
Bringing in an older, more experienced stopper in the mould of Casillas—one that would perhaps oust the Polish international from the first team—may have its short-term benefits. But long-term, it’d only serve to halt the development of Szczesny, who is a player Wenger has invested a lot of time in and clearly harbours high hopes for.