Manchester United have joined the hunt for young Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, according to reports in England and Spain.
Morata was the subject of interest from Arsenal in the January transfer window, with Arsene Wenger believed to be keen to take the 21-year-old on loan until the end of the season. But Spanish sports daily Marca now claims that United are set to make an offer for the player at the end of the season. Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN that the Premier League champions are giving serious consideration to making a bid.
Having broken into the first-team squad last season and subsequently firing Spain to the European Under-21 Championship, this was expected to be a major breakthrough campaign for Morata. Yet, despite starting as the first alternative to Karim Benzema, he has found his opportunities increasingly limited. The emergence of fellow young forward Jese Rodriguez has further hampered his chances on the pitch. Indeed, Morata has not started a match in 2014.
Having spoken in January about his frustration at the situation, it is certainly possible that he would be willing to look for opportunities elsewhere. Whether he or the club is prepared for him to go on a permanent deal remains to be seen. Marca reports that Madrid hope to keep Morata satisfied at the Bernabeu, although the fact that he’s contract expires in 2015 further complicates the situation and gives an advantage to both Morata as well as United and his other suitors.
Meanwhile, there has been further speculation about Manchester United’s interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho. The Portugal international is thought to have been watched by United’s scouts more than any other target this season, with Moyes believed to view him as a solution to the squad’s lack of midfield quality.
The Sun now claims that United have begun talks with Sporting Lisbon over a potential £30 million deal for the 21-year-old. The price is likely to prove the main stumbling block to United completing a deal for the player who made his debut for his country in the first leg of their World Cup playoff against Sweden last November. Carvalho has a release clause of £37.5 million in his contract and Sporting are likely to want to receive as close to that amount as possible.
Another midfielder to have been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent times is Alex Song. The former Arsenal man has struggled since moving to Barcelona in the summer of 2012. While he has been moved back to his familiar midfield role this campaign, as opposed to being used mainly as a center-back last season, the Cameroon international has started just 10 matches in La Liga and the Champions League combined. He has often looked ill-fitting with Barcelona’s passing style and become something of a symbol for the team’s loss of direction under Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
The Daily Express claims that United may well present Song with a tempting offer this summer. And Song has now revealed that if he does leave Barcelona the Premier League will be his chosen destination, although the 26-year-old hinted that he still has close ties with his former club.
"If I leave Barcelona, it will be to return to the Premier League," he told beIN Sport. "I will return to England one day, that's for sure."
"He [Wenger] was like a father to me," he added. "He spoke a lot with me when I arrived to Arsenal. I wanted to renew my contract with Arsenal but in that case I would have regretted not joining Barcelona. Barcelona are the best side in the world."