There is no shame in failing to make the grade at Real Madrid, and it often takes a move away from the Bernabeu in order to flourish. Álvaro Negredo, Borja Valero, Javi Garciá, Juanfran and Juan Mata are just a few of the players who blossomed having moved away from the harsh expectations of Los Blancos.
Another name about to be added to the list is Álvaro Morata, with the 21-year-old the focus of some of Europe's top clubs, and seemingly on the fringes of the first-team under Carlo Ancelotti.
The powerful striker, who stands at 6ft 3in, spent his youth moving between various Madrid based sides, starting at Atlético Madrid, then Getafe, and finally ending up at the bright lights of Real Madrid.
He has represented Spain at under-17 through to under-21 level, and currently has a strike rate of 13 goals in 12 appearances for La Rojita, two goals away from equalling Rodrigo's record tally of 15 goals. Incidentally, Rodrigo himself failed to make the grade as a striker for Real Madrid, but has gone on the have substantial success in Portugal, with Benfica.
With Ancelotti willing to let Morata go for the sake of his development, it is crucial the striker, and his advisors, pick his next move wisely. His stock is very high at the moment, due to his impressive cameo appearances last season, but if he fails to live up to expectations at his next club, it will be unlikely the same calibre of clubs will come in for him in the transfer market.
Take Juventus for example, who are said to have made an official offer of €12 million. Assuming Antonio Conte sticks with his preferred 3-5-2 formation, which is by no means a given, Morata will be fighting it out with Carlos Tevez, 30, and Fernando Llorente, 29.
Tevez was the third highest goalscorer in Serie A last season, and is almost untouchable within Conte's team, and given their similar physiques, pairing Llorente and Morata would be unlikely. Therefore he is unlikely to see regular playing time, at a stage in his career where it is vital.
A better option would be Wolfsburg, who are quietly assembling an impressive squad under Dieter Heckling, and reportedly made a €20 million bid for Morata's services. With other hungry international talents in the squad, like Ricardo Rodriguez, Ivan Perisic, Luiz Gustavo and young German players like Maximilian Arnold and Sebastian Jung, Morata would be a perfect addition.
He only has to look at how well Kevin De Bruyne has done since escaping the Chelsea reserves to get a feel for what the move could do to his career. He would be competing with Bas Dost for the role of number nine, and with Dost thoroughly underwhelming since arriving from Heerenveen, Morata would get the nod to partner Ivica Olic in attack.
The Bundesliga is currently the best league for young footballers to play in, given that youngsters are revered, and allowed to flourish in first-team football immediately, unlike La Liga, Serie A or the Premier League, where emphasis is placed on slowly integrating youngsters. Morata would join an exciting array of young striking talent, alongside Josip Drmic, Max Meyer, Roberto Firmino and Timo Werner, just to select a few names.
Ultimately, this decision will probably be the most important one Morata makes in his career. Get it right, and he has the talent and platform to become one of the worlds best strikers. Get it wrong, and his progress will be further stunted, and he risks becoming overtaken by other young players in the constant evolution of modern football.
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