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Morata-Milan mealtime meeting means more malodorous market myths

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Mmmm...masticating

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

AC Milan’s directors, Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli were in London earlier this week, in part to conduct a “blitz” to land Alvaro Morata.

There’s a new snippet to that story, with Gazzetta dello Sport (via SportWitness) writing that Morata and his agent, Juanma López, actually had dinner with them. This would make the second time that Morata has personally met with an Italian club in the off-season, following an “accidental” meeting with Juventus’ director of football, Fabio Partici, in May. (Juve subsequently landed Ronaldo and don’t need Morata.)

By now two things are pretty clear. One, despite Instagram posts to the contrary, Morata still seems to be entertaining the idea of going back to Italy. Why agree to the meeting with the Milan directors otherwise? Gazzetta’s story indeed claims that the issue came up during the Monday dinner.

And two, Milan would like to have a striker of his caliber. The problem for Milan is affording Morata, hedge fund Elliot taking over ownership of the club notwithstanding. But perhaps a certain Donnarumma could be a bargaining chip? That idea is starting to make its rounds across the rumor mill.

Some form of a Morata-Donnarumma trade might make sense to both clubs. Their valuations might not exactly match — Morata’s market value is higher. So a straight swap might not make sense. But if each club sells its player to the other, then Milan would only have to part with a much smaller amount of their own funds (separate from the money gained by selling Donnarumma) to acquire the striker they want.

Chelsea would then be able to sell Courtois to Real Madrid, and with fresh funds in hand, pursue other targets, possibly including a striker Maurizio Sarri reportedly would like to have, Juve’s Gonzalo Higuain.

Very neat. Frankly, probably too neat to happen. Real life is more chaotic and unpredictable. And dowgrading from Morata to Higuain would also be a problem, though it would open a clear(er) pathway for Batshuayi, perhaps, in the near future.

One thing is for sure, the situation remains fluid and unsettled despite the season and the end of the transfer window approaching fast.