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Arsenal Transfer News: Alvaro Morata Approach Made, Latest Gunners Rumours

Juventus Alvaro Morata celebrates after he scored during the Champions League group D soccer match between Juventus and FC Sevilla, at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)
Massimo Pinca/Associated Press
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2017

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are again being linked with Juventus striker Alvaro Morata, with the latest rumours stating both clubs have enquired about a January transfer move.

According to talkSPORT, the Gunners and Spurs believe they may be able to lure him to the Premier League with the promise of regular football, handing the youngster the opportunity to find his best form ahead of the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament. Liverpool have also been linked with the forward, per Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia).

Morata is going through one of the worst slumps of his young career, crashing back to Earth after a breakout campaign in 2014-15. The 23-year-old has failed to score since October, per WhoScored.com. As a result he has been passed in the Juventus pecking order by summer signings Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala.

Juventus' forward Mario Mandzukic from Croatia (R) celebrates with teammate Juventus' forward Paulo Dybala from Argentina after scoring during the Italian Serie A  football match Juventus vs Fiorentina on December 13, 2015 at the 'Juventus Stadium' in Tur
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

The latter was brought in as a replacement for Carlos Tevez, who formed a deadly duo with Morata last season. But his departure seems to have had a big impact on Morata's form and confidence, and with Mandzukic playing some of the best football of his life, the Spaniard's playing time has steadily declined.

Here are some of his key highlights from last season:

The former Real Madrid man has one of the most unique skill sets in Serie A, combining impressive size and strength with surprising pace and deadly finishing ability. He's built like a traditional striker but does some of his best work on the counter-attack.

With Tevez setting the example, he stood out for his impressive work rate last season and scored a number of key goals, including two against former club Real in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

He refused to celebrate either goal, out of respect for Los Blancos, who still hold an option to buy him back in the upcoming summer transfer window, per Radio MARCA (h/t Marca). The option only complicates a potential move, with the La Liga giants facing a transfer ban, per Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror.

If Los Blancos are able to push the embargo back past the summer window, Morata is a likely candidate to return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, providing the youngster signs off on the move. Just three months ago, he seemed far more likely to stay in Turin, but his current status with the Bianconeri could change his mind.

Arsenal and Tottenham are reportedly unwilling to wait that long and want to move now, but a January transfer seems unlikely. Juventus won't be looking to sell the out-of-form youngster, particularly at a time when his value is low, and he still projects as the club's long-term starter alongside the prolific Dybala.

 

Spurs Eyeing Victor Wanyama Swap Deal

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Victor Wanyama of Southampton and Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St. Mary's Stadium on January 16, 201
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Arsenal's north London rivals will reportedly try to beat the Gunners to yet another player, as the Sun (h/t Daily Star's Luke Gardener) report Spurs want to use Andros Townsend in a swap deal to bring Southampton's Victor Wanyama to White Hart Lane.

The Gunners are still interested in the midfielder despite moving for Mohamed Elneny earlier this window, as the Egyptian is unlikely to feature much until he has adapted to life in England.

But Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to move first, sending out-of-favour winger Townsend―and some cash, in all likelihood―to St. Mary's. The England international hasn't seen much action for Spurs in the last few months, prompting this tweet that raised some questions:

Per Gardener, Spurs have turned down a £10 million offer from Newcastle, and if Townsend were to help the side land a high-profile target like Wanyama, it would obviously provide much better value.

Wanyama would likely have been a back-up at the Emirates Stadium once Francis Coquelin returned to health, and with Elneny now plying his trade with the club as well, losing out on Wanyama wouldn't be a huge issue for manager Arsene Wenger.

It's never a good thing when a transfer target ends up strengthening a rival like Tottenham, but once the Elneny deal was announced, Wanyama was unlikely to join the club anyway.

 

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