Alvaro Morata's form has taken a dip in recent weeks, so would it be wise for Real Madrid to reconsider?
Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata was linked strongly with a transfer to Arsenal early in December, before the La Liga giants denied they wanted to send him away.
The Spanish under-21 international is needed as a back-up for Karim Benzema, but real questions are emerging over just how ready he is to step up.
He was handed starts in two Copa del Rey games against third division side Olimpo Xativa, but failed to seize his chance and score a single goal.
Morata's displays have given Madrid reason to worry, with Spanish newspaper Marca particularly critical:
"In what is theoretically his tournament, the Madrid-born player put in a lacklustre performance over both legs against Olímpic.
"This is Morata's first season in the first team and every time he speaks to the press he says that "his time will come". However, it is obvious that the academy graduate suffered a huge change in November. He went from almost taking Karim’s place in the starting XI to once again returning to his shadow.
"He has only scored one goal in five games since 30th October, compared with Benzema's six in nine."
It's very possible this was Morata's final chance to impress before the transfer window opens, almost certainly his final start.
Madrid face Valencia in La Liga on Sunday, in what will be their final game until January 6. Frenchman Karim Benzema is expected to start and Morata will be fortunate to get minutes from the bench if he is lucky.
So Carlo Ancelotti and the Real management will head into the transfer window with a big question over the striker position.
If they are serious about landing 'La Decima' - their obsession for a 10th Champions League/European Cup - then do they genuinely have enough back-up for Benzema?
If Morata was firing on all cylinders there would be no question, but it appears very credible they could go out and sign a new striker.
What would that mean for Morata? Well it could just see him surplus to requirements for the season, and end up being loaned to Arsenal yet.
This deal was never going to be acted on until January anyway, so dependent on Real Madrid's transfer activity, we could yet see Alvaro Morata in the Premier League for half a season.
image: © carlos rm