Today in Chelsea’s Great Summer 2017 Striker Search, we have news from Italy and Spain, though it’s mostly the former that contains any actionable bits.
The Spanish (Marca via Sport Witness) just claim that Morata is Conte’s “expressed request”, which is (true or false) territory we’ve been over multiple times, forwards and backwards, left to right. So, nothing to see there at the moment, especially with Morata off with Real in the USA and the Spanish champions not giving off any inkling of lowering their price from the outrageous €90m or whatever it would take to get the 24-year-old.
Of course, Chelsea’s other two main options, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyan and Andrea Belotti are likely to cost just as much, so the question beyond all should be whether Chelsea are even willing to spend that much on a player. Prior evidence would suggest not as both strikers would easily smash the club’s £50m transfer record.
Over the last couple days, that striker is starting to look increasingly like Aubameyang, provided that he is potentially available and this isn’t all just one big fabrication. Yesterday, the Mirror claimed that Chelsea are “closing in” at £65m. Today, reports from Italy support that assertion by claiming the same for AC Milan and Belotti. While Milan’s first offer has apparently been rejected, Corriere dello Sport claim that they are not far away and are firmly in the lead for the Torino striker’s signature.
In addition, Fabrizio Romano, writing for CalcioMercato, claims that Belotti has already given his “OK” to Milan via intermediaries and all that’s left to figure out is the price. Torino will no doubt want something close to Belotti’s €100m buy-out, though Milan are possibly looking to get creative with a couple player swaps or some such, adding M’Baye Niang and Gabriele Paletta into a €60-80m cash deal. Unexpected and off-the-wall things sometimes do happen in the Italian mercato.
So, in summary, PEA looking like a stronger possibility. Take that strictly in relative terms, not absolute ones. This is still all just talk, but the talk is trending away from Belotti and towards PEA, with Morata firmly relegated to the bench, as far as Chelsea are concerned.