Arsene Wenger has reportedly convinced Real Madrid forward and Tottenham target Alvaro Morata to join Arsenal on a loan deal in January.
The Gunners are short on numbers up front, with Olivier Giroud being the only recognised senior striker in their ranks, other than the out-of-favour Nicklas Bendtner. With winning the Premier League very much a possibility this time, Wenger now wants to provide an able back-up for Giroud for the second half of the season.
Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, who are both gradually making their return to the squad from long spells on the sidelines, can be deployed as centre forwards, if needed, but the French tactician is now looking for a new addition on that front.
It is also understood that Wenger is looking at a stop-gap solution in January, just for back-up, with a view of signing a world-class forward next summer, when clubs would be more willing to let go of their top-prized assets.
And hence the highly rated Morata fits the bill. The 21-year-old has been linked with a winter move to Arsenal for some time now, and according to Spanish newspaper Onda Cero, Wenger has now convinced the youngster to make the switch to London when the transfer window opens.
Morata, who has scored 24 goals from 23 appearances for the Spain U-19 and U-21 teams, is currently behind Karim Benzema and fellow academy graduate Jese in the pecking order at the Bernabeu. And with Real expected to sign a senior striker in Januray, the youngster knows his first-team chances would be limited at the Spanish capital this season.
Arsenal present itself as an ideal destination for Morata to gain first-team football this term, with him being second only to Giroud for the centre forward role. Even the Real coaches are understood to be happy to see the youngster continue his development in the Premier League, under Wenger.
Morata was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham in the summer, with Andre Villas-Boas understood to be wanting him included in the big-money deal that saw Gareth Bale move to Real. Spurs, who have struggled for goals from open-play this season, are still known to be keeping tabs on the striker but it now seems their archrivals have beaten them in the race for the Spaniard.