Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Alvaro Morata Amid Liverpool, United Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

GENOA, ITALY - JANUARY 10:  Alvaro Morata of Juventus FC looks on during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Juventus FC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on January 10, 2016 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly joint favourites with Real Madrid to sign Juventus striker Alvaro Morata in January despite the slashing of the odds on Liverpool being the Spaniard's next club.

Per Jamie Anderson in the Daily Star, Betfair has moved the odds on the Reds signing Morata due to their reported preparation of a huge bid, but Arsenal remain the front-runners alongside his former club, Real.

Indeed, reports have indicated the Merseyside outfit have already had a €60 million (£46 million) bid for Morata rejected by Juve, per Italian football writer Tancredi Palmeri:

Manchester United are also reportedly interested in the 23-year-old, but Real have first refusal on him having "put in place a £23 million buy-back clause" when they sold him to the Old Lady in 2014 on a five-year deal, per Italian outlet Tuttosport (h/t James Cambridge in the Express).

The bottom line is the Gunners look set to face huge competition to sign Morata in the current transfer window and could face much push-back from Juve themselves, with the Serie A club's director of football, Giuseppe Marotta, recently stating that they have "never considered selling Morata," per George Cooper in the Independent.

However, the north Londoners may be able to persuade Juve to part with the young striker if they offer a tempting enough fee.

Having spent 2014-15 as a key member of Juve's double-winning team, Morata has made only eight league starts in the current campaign, scoring one goal, as summer signings Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are now manager Massimiliano Allegri's front line strike pair, per

The likelihood of Gunners manager Arsene Wenger shelling out more than £40 million in January, though, seems highly unlikely, with Bleacher Report's Dean Jones recently suggesting as much concerning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang:

Morata would be an excellent addition to the Arsenal squad, not least because he is still a young player with room for improvement and could be a huge asset to the Gunners over the next few years.

Equally, Arsenal are just an Olivier Giroud-injury away from their title challenge being derailed.

The Frenchman is the only genuinely reliable centre-forward on the Arsenal books, with his backup and competition being the out-of-position and injury-prone Theo Walcott.

The addition of Morata would allow Wenger to rotate his front men more regularly and keep his goalscorers fresher.

But considering the Frenchman's historic reluctance to spend big money in January—or at any other time—it does not seem a likely move despite Arsenal being named as the front-runners.