Chelsea keen to sign Alvaro Morata before Euros kick off
New Blues manager Antonio Conte has long been an admirer of the Spain striker
Spain’s Alvaro Morata scores past Kim Jin-Hyeon of South Korea during a Euro 2016 warm-up match. Photo: Getty Images
Chelsea are to step up their attempts to sign Álvaro Morata from Juventus and hope to make progress this week before the European Championship begins.
Morata, capped nine times by Spain, had been targeted by Antonio Conte when the coach was at Juve before his departure in 2014 to take up the reins of the Italian national team, with the forward subsequently moving to the Turin club from Real Madrid on a five-year contract.
Conte, who starts work at Stamford Bridge after Euro 2016, has revived that long-standing interest as he seeks to bolster Chelsea’s attacking ranks.
The deal is slightly complicated by the fact Real intend to activate a £23m buy-back clause in the 23-year-old’s contract, with a view to selling him on immediately at a profit. The European champions would seek nearer £40m for his services, though Chelsea are hopeful a compromise can be reached over a fee prior to Spain starting their campaign at the European Championship. They begin against Czech Republic in Toulouse on Monday.
Juventus signed Morata in 2014 rather than targeting Romelu Lukaku – another player Conte would like to pursue this summer – and he has since scored 27 goals in two title-winning seasons in Serie A. The player can feature as a lone forward or in a partnership, and had attracted interest from Arsenal and Manchester United, only for those clubs to switch their attentions to Jamie Vardy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic respectively.
Chelsea have prioritised his arrival having released Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato back to their parents clubs, Monaco and Corinthians respectively, after underwhelming season-long loan spells. Loïc Rémy is also likely to depart, while Atlético Madrid have not given up hope of re-signing Diego Costa. The London club will resist that interest.
Morata has accepted he will effectively have to rejoin Real before securing a permanent transfer elsewhere given the existence of the buy-back clause.
“Hopefully everything will be resolved before then, because it is uncomfortable to be helping your country with phone in hand,” he said. “My wish is to succeed in Madrid, but Madrid have great players and what I want is to play and feel important. There are some offers from England that are tempting, not only because of the contract.
“I think my characteristics mean the Premier League would be a great destination. With what I have learned in Italy, if I have the chance to learn something more in England I think it would make me a more complete player. I am 23 years old and I want to progress, to play and learn from the best.”