Arsenal 'approach Real Madrid' in bid to structure £51m move for Alvaro Morata
Arsenal are in talks to sign Juventus striker Alvaro Morata, but not with the Italian club after reports in Italy claimed the Gunners are negotiating directly with his former side Real Madrid.
Morata is one of the most sought-after strikers heading into the summer transfer window given he has not committed his future to Juventus, despite winning a second consecutive Serie A title with the club since he arrived from Madrid in 2014.
Real appear favourites to sign Morata by exercising a buy-back clause they have in his contract, with the Champions League finalists able to re-sign the striker in a €30m [£23.6m] deal should they wish to do so.
Morata has admitted that he does not know what his future holds, but Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims that Real will bring the 23-year-old back to the Santiago Bernabeu only to then negotiate his sale to Arsenal in a financially lucrative move worth around £51m.
The move would smash Arsenal’s current club-record transfer signing, which came in the form of the 2013 acquisition of Mesut Özil for £42.5m, and while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he is looking to bring in “two or three players” this summer, the expensive move would come as a surprise.
Wenger does need to strengthen his attack ahead of the new season given that Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott fell well short of expectations this season, while Danny Welbeck was relied upon too much when he returned from 10 months out injured only to suffer another serious knee injury that will keep him out of the rest of the year.
Rather than lodge an offer with Juventus, it’s claimed Arsenal will look to structure a deal with Real before their buy-back clause activates on 1 July. The move is a risky one given that Morata would need to accept terms with Arsenal even if he has his heart set on a move back to Madrid, or otherwise Real could pull the plug on the transfer and the Spain international will remain in Turin.
Juventus suggest that may not be a problem though after their general director, Giuseppe Marotta, claimed the player wants to remain with the Italian champions and stressed that the club will do everything within its power to keep hold of the forward when they open discussions with Real should they, as is expected, come calling for their former academy product.
"Keeping Morata at the club is an important objective for us, but what happens at the Champions League final may have much to do with his future. We'll do all we can to fulfil his wishes to stay in Turin, where he feels he is at a club that is perfect for his career development," Marotta said.
"Morata's future doesn't solely depend on Juventus despite our desire for him to remain here, but the outcome of the conversations with Real Madrid will dictate his future."