Arsenal have reportedly pulled out of the race to sign Spanish striker Alvaro Morata because Real Madrid's £60 million asking price is too high.
Real confirmed on Tuesday they will re-sign Morata, 23, from Juventus, but it "seems certain" they will now sell him on again, and Arsenal have baulked at Los Blancos' £60 million asking price and ended their pursuit, according to John Cross in the Mirror.
Cross added that Arsenal being "scared off" could now leave Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea in a head-to-head to sign the forward.
Chelsea are "currently favourites" to land Morata, while United boss Jose Mourinho is "also an admirer," having given the Spaniard his first-team debut at Real, but the Red Devils are not prepared to bid beyond £50 million.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a new top-level striker, but it seems they are not ready to gamble £60 million on Morata.
While the Spain international is one of the top young forwards in Europe, the Gunners could have been put off by his relatively low goal return—only 15 in 63 Serie A appearances during his two seasons at Juve, per WhoScored.com.
Arsenal's current No. 1 striker, Olivier Giroud, also struggles to score consistently, and manager Arsene Wenger is likely only prepared to spend big on a forward who will all but guarantee at least 20 goals in a Premier League season.
However, Morata has proved that he is a man for the biggest of occasions. In Juve's run to the UEFA Champions League final in 2014-15 he scored five times, per Squawka Dave:
He impressed in the Champions League again last term—especially against Bayern Munich in the last 16—while he has already netted three times in three matches for Spain at Euro 2016.
Arsenal need a front man who can step up against the best opponents, and Morata has proved he can do just that, while his excellent link-up play could likely have seen him thrive at the Emirates Stadium alongside Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Morata should also become more prolific as he gains further experience and hones his finishing touch.
Arsenal may regret pulling out of the race to sign Morata, especially if he goes on to help either United or Chelsea win the Premier League title.
But it is unsurprising that the famously frugal Wenger is not prepared to smash Arsenal's transfer record—currently the £42.4 million they paid Real for Ozil in 2013—to sign a largely unproven Morata for £60 million.