Since last summer Arsenal have continually been linked with a number of potential striking targets. More recently, the name that continues to be linked is Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. The rumour is one that will not seem to go away and injuries to Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner have heightened the speculation. Morata has very much been suggested as a loan option for the Gunners as he is seen as a long term prospect at Madrid. However with Madrid being rumoured to want a new striker in the summer, Morata could find himself further down the pecking order. At present Morata is one of only two recognised strikers at the club, the other being Karim Benzema. Despite this, he has only made ten league appearances this season, nine of which have come from the bench. Both his two goals have come from his substitute appearances, but Morata could be seeking first team football elsewhere to aid his development.
Morata gained a great buzz from his performances during the European Under-21 Championships in the summer. Morata finished top scorer in the tournament, scoring four goals in the process. Many believed he would be able to kick on in the next season Madrid, but despite Karim Benzema struggling last season, Ancelotti has put all of his faith in the Frenchman. In Morata, Arsenal would get a forward with pace, technical ability and height as he stands at 6 ft 3 in. Although he is still unproven, at worst he would offer a better back up option than Nicklas Bendtner for the Gunners. Morata’s record for Real Madrid’s B team, Castilla, was impressive. Whether he would be able to step up to the vigour of the Premier League remains to be seen. However the only short term options available for Arsenal are Morata or the aging Dimitar Berbatov, who has only managed one league goal this season.
As well as Morata, recently reports have resurfaced about Arsenal’s interest in another young starlet, Julian Draxler. Draxler has been on the radar of Europe’s best clubs for a while now, and already has a few years of Champions League experience under his belt. Draxler has mainly been employed as a winger for Schalke, but a move to a central striker role is not out of the young German’s skillset. In his three seasons as a regular, Draxler has shown flashes of genuine quality. In the 2012/13 he managed thirteen goals in all competitions, all before his twentieth birthday. There is no doubt he will mature into a great player in the coming years, so if Arsene Wenger was to move for him now, he would stop any rivals from acquiring the player.
Whether Arsenal would like to shell out another massive transfer fee in the same season is another matter. Reports have suggested that Draxler will only be available for a huge release fee close to £37 million. It could therefore make sense for the Gunners to wait until the summer to bring Draxler in. This therefore makes a Morata loan the short term option and the potential signing of Draxler the long term one. Both players would be cup tied in Europe after featuring for their respective clubs already in the Champions league this season. Most people do not expect Arsenal to progress past Bayern Munich in the last 16, but if they do sign any quality player in January from Europe, it unlikely they will be able to figure in the tie. However, the league appears to be Arsenal’s main focus this season, and any additional firepower will be extremely welcome in their quest to win the league for the first time in ten years.