Arsenal are facing frustration in their attempts to lure Alvaro Morata away from Real Madrid as they seek to solve their striking crisis.
With Theo Walcott ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured knee ligament sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and Nicklas Bendtner also out for a month, Arsenal's only available forwards are an unfit Lukas Podolski and an over-worked Olivier Giroud.
Arsène Wenger's side are currently top of the Premier League table, in the fourth round of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Champions League. The second half of the season will be intense and they certainly need reinforcements this month.
Wenger is known to be keen on Morata, Real Madrid's 21-year-old Spanish centre-forward, who has found first-team opportunities limited this season under Carlo Ancelotti, starting just once in La Liga and not at all in the Champions League.
Real Madrid are also fighting in three competitions, though, with a Copa del Rey game against Osasuna tomorrow, and Ancelotti does not want to let any first-team players leave in January.
Last week, Morata created the only goal for Jese in Madrid's 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Doha. He is highly thought of, and won the golden boot as part of the victorious Spain sides at the European Under-19 Championship in 2011 and the Under-21 Championship in 2013.
Arsenal may also need to call on more of their youngsters to fill the breach. The 18-year-old German winger Serge Gnabry was excellent against Tottenham, creating Santi Cazorla's opening goal, and is surely due for more appearances on the right wing this season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who returned to full training on Monday, will need games with the under-21s to return to fitness but will then provide a fast option out wide.
The 18-year-old striker Chuba Akpom, who is an England Under-19 international and star of Arsenal's Under-21s, was due to go on loan to League One side Brentford before the move was put on hold, although Brentford remain hopeful of doing a deal until the end of the season.
Akpom, who scored a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup on Monday, has already made two substitute appearances for the first team this season. He and Park Chu-young will act as back-up for Giroud and Podolski for the near future.
Arsenal's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Coventry City has been moved to the evening of Friday 24 January, and will be broadcast live on BT Sport.
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