We may not think too much of Álvaro Morata around these parts — he’s clearly talented, but he struggled mightily to put it all together in England, especially with any consistency — but back in Spain, he remains highly regarded and very much in-demand.
Átletico Madrid agreed to take him off our hands in January, signing the 26-year-old on an 18-month loan with a buyout clause set in the region of €40-50m. And although it was an opportunity that Morata himself brought to the table at Chelsea, Atléti weren’t the only ones angling for his services.
Ahead of last night’s title showdown between Barcelona and Atlético, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde confirmed that they had indeed made a play for the former Real Madrid striker.
“It’s true there were conversations with him but also with other players. He signed for Atletico Madrid, he is playing in the starting 11. Good. Here he was supposed to be the second striker, a different role than he has with Atletico.
“Every player must think about what he wants. Sometimes there are just meaningless conversations. We finally signed Kevin-Prince. We hope he can help us.”
-Ernesto Valverde; source: Star
The well-traveled Kevin-Prince Boateng has only played three times since arriving, so Morata’s certainly made the right call (11 appearances, 4 goals). Unfortunately, Diego Simeone chose Diego Costa to start last night’s derby, and ol’ Diego pushed the self-destruct button and this time didn’t get away with it, got himself sent off in the first-half (for insulting the referee), and Barca eventually found the breakthrough to win 2-0 and practically wrap up the Spanish league title — they have an 11-point lead with 7 games left, only 1 of which is against another team in the top six (Getafe).