Arsenal have not completely given up hope of signing Álvaro Morata next month, despite Real Madrid insisting that there will be no mid-season departures either on loan or permanently.
Both Morata and Karim Benzema have figured on manager Arsène Wenger’s list of striker targets, but Carlo Ancelotti, the Real manager, does not want to lose either player in January.
Morata, a Spain Under-21 international, had been seen as the more attainable target because of his lack of regular first-team football, but Real are saying that no players will leave as they attempt to close a five-point gap on Barcelona in La Liga.
The situation is only like to change at the end of the season if Real can sign a new striker of their own, with Luis Suárez still regarded as an attainable option if Liverpool again fail to qualify for the Champions League despite his new contract.
Arsenal are also interested in Diego Costa but Atlético Madrid want to wait until the end of the season before making any decisions, particularly as they only trail Barcelona on goal difference in La Liga and are preparing to face AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The situation could be forced if Costa’s release clause – understood to be around £32 million –was triggered but Arsenal would be reluctant to stretch to that figure and Costa himself is still keen to force his way into Spain’s World Cup squad. Costa has been regularly scouted by Arsenal so far this season in which he has scored 23 goals in only 23 games for Atlético.