Many wonder what it's like to be wanted by nearly every major club in Europe. They should ask Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata.
The striker may be a fan favorite, but he is on the shopping lists of a number of different clubs this summer, according to Joe Krishnan of the Independent.
Despite current front man Karim Benzema posting a solid strike rate during his time at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid are constantly in the news searching for star strikers, according to various news outlets and exemplified by this piece in the Metro. Last season, that role was filled by Benzema and shared with Gonzalo Higuain before his departure to Napoli a year ago.
But a young striker recently came up through the ranks. Morata burst onto the scene and has Madridistas full of hope. The young Spaniard is blessed with remarkable potential, and he could represent the future of the club's strike force.
He is often the tallest player on the pitch, but size is not his only asset. Morata is far more agile than expected, and his composure in front of goal is impressive. At just 21 years of age, it would appear that he has a bright career ahead of him.
Madrid's treatment of the player has been rather curious. With so much promise and with only one other true striker in the squad, it seems obvious that Morata should continue his role as a back-up, gaining valuable experience while learning from the best in the world. But according to various news outlets, the forward has been linked with a move elsewhere.
If the club are so keen on signing big-name strikers, why let a potential superstar leave when he is already on the books?
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger attempted to bring the player to London during the January transfer window. However, the potential deal fell through when Real made it clear that he was an important member of the side, one they could ill afford to let go—even just for a few months.
But just six months later, it looks as if the club is ready to say goodbye.
Perhaps Morata has decided he is ready for regular first-team football and grown frustrated under Benzema's shadow. But this seems odd. Madrid are ready to listen to offers, but why not loan him out? If they are indeed preparing to sign a big-name striker, it's true that Morata might find minutes hard to come by during this campaign. But that does not validate cutting ties with the player altogether.
Morata is young. His raw potential makes him one of the most exciting players in the world. Real Madrid may be his future, but if the player truly wants to see meaningful minutes, it appears as if he has options aplenty.
Madrid should not consider selling the player. Just as Chelsea are kicking themselves for letting go of Daniel Sturridge, there is a lesson to be learned about keeping faith in young talent. If Morata wants to go elsewhere, then let him go on loan. That wouldn't mean waving goodbye to a player who has proven to be a top striker in the limited minutes he's had.
The forward scored eight goals in 23 La Liga appearances, per WhoScored.com, but 20 of those occasions were as a substitute. Remarkably, Morata scored a goal every 80 minutes he was on the pitch—more than a goal per game.
With so much promise, it is hard to come up with a good reason to sell the player. He was a significant part of a side that won the Champions League, and he has so much more to offer. Alleged transfer fees for the player have been relatively modest, certainly not enough to compel Ancelotti and the management to sell.
If Madrid are to bring another striker into the squad during the summer window, then considering loan options for the young Spaniard is a must. But unless he his forcing his way out of the side, Morata is a player worth hanging on to.