Bundesliga giants Wolfsburg have moved to emphatically deny reports that they tabled a whopping €28m bid for Real Madrid's much sought-after strike starlet Alvaro Morata, leaving Arsenal and Juventus free to battle it out for the forward this summer.
Morata has created a tug of war for his signature stretching across the continent by making it very clear he has designs on a move in search of regular first-team football this summer, a stance the Champions League winners look forced to reluctantly accept as the youngster enters the final 12 months of his current contract.
Arsenal and Juve have been quoted £25m by Madrid plus a buy-back clause to get a deal for the 21-year-old over the line, but Wolfsburg are adamant that while rating Morata highly they have not made a concrete offer and have no current plans to.
Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs is quoted by Sky Sports as telling Wolfsburger Nachrichten: “Morata is a very good young striker, there is no doubt about that.
“However, those reports are pure rubbish. Our club has not tabled any bid for the services of Alvaro Morata.”
The Bundesliga proved with their move for Luis Gustavo last summer that they have the financial muscle to match their ambition to become a Champions League regular, but Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku looks likely to be on their radar rather than Morata.
That means it looks very much like a straight fight between Juve and Arsenal that his future lies in either the Premier League or Serie A, although the deal is still some way off.
Juve are more receptive to Madrid's insistence that any move has to include a buy-back clause that the La Liga force than invoke at any point over the next three season.
Arsenal are only interested in a straight cash deal and decided against trying to sign Morata on loan last January, but Carlo Ancelotti's recent admission that the Spansh youth international is looking to leave means this transfer tussle looks set to stretch right through the summer.
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