Thursday 29 September 2016

Arsenal 'willing to make Alvaro Morata the highest paid player at the club' to fend off rivals

Jack de Menezes

Published 21/05/2016 | 16:40

Alvaro Morata is reportedly a target for Arsenal
Alvaro Morata is reportedly a target for Arsenal

Arsenal are willing to make Alvaro Morata the highest-paid player at the club in a bid to fend off interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain and sign the Juventus striker this summer.

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The Spain international is being heavily linked with a move away from the Italian champions, with Real Madrid poised to activate his buy-back clause of €30m [£23.6m] from 1 July. However, instead of returning to his former club, Morata looks set to be sold in for a large profit, with figures in excess of £50m being mentioned for the 23-year-old.

One of those clubs being heavily linked is Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger in the market for a new striker given Olivier Giroud’s and Theo Walcott’s struggles this season. With Wenger already closing in on his first signing of the season in the form of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, it appears that the club are pressing on with their transfer plans early in a bid to strengthen for next season.

Morata has caught the eye of Wenger in the past when the Frenchman attempted to take the forward on loan in 2014 only for the Spaniard to move to Italy, and according to The Sun, Arsenal are willing to offer Morata a contract worth £150,000-a-week in order to lure him to the Emirates.

It would take him beyond the £140,000-a-week that Mesut Özil currently earns, although the German also has an offer on the table to increase his salary should he decide after the Euro 2016 Championship that he sees his long-term future at Arsenal.

Signing Morata may be enough to convince Özil that the club do share his ambition to challenge for future honours – both domestically and in Europe – but some have questioned whether Morata is the goalscoring forward that Arsenal desperately need. Morata only managed seven goals in Serie A this season and has never managed to break into double figures in the league when playing for Real or Juventus.

He excels at hassling defenders and playing the ball on for those around him, but Arsenal already have a player similar to him in Giroud and it’s questionable whether paying £50m would represent good value for a player who may not deliver the 20-plus goals a season that the Gunners require if they are to end what will be a 13-year title drought next season.

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