Since the end of Diego Costa's relationship with head coach Antonio Conte, and thus Chelsea, via text message at the end of the season, the Blues have conducted a frantic and frustrating search for a new man to lead the line. Several high-profile targets were considered, from prodigal son Romelu Lukaku to Torino boy-wonder Andrea Belotti, but one could argue that Chelsea have ended up with the best option available by acquring Álvaro Morata from Real Madrid.
Having agreed the transfer on Wednesday, Morata flew to London overnight and has now passed his medical and agreed personal terms. The transfer was made official tonight, with Chelsea announcing the 24-year-old in the usual style.
Reports indicate that Morata's initial transfer fee is about £58-60 million, with add-ons that will surely elevate the final value to £70-75 million. He’s agreed to a five-year deal with £150,000 to £170,000 in rumored weekly wages, which puts him at the same level of Diego Costa's earnings at Chelsea.
The 24-year-old striker started his career at Real Madrid's B-team in the 2010-11 season, spending three years in the squad while earning a few cameos in Madrid's main team. He was promoted to the first-team full time in 2013, being named by former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti as Karim Benzema’s backup and delivering 8 goals in only 559 minutes of play at La Liga.
Given the few chances he had to break through to the starting line-up, Morata moved to Juventus in summer 2014 at the behest of Antonio Conte. The pair however never got to work together as Conte left the club a few days before Morata's arrival. Still, under the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri and playing alongside Carlos Tévez, Fernando Llorente, and Paulo Dybala mostly in a two-striker system, Morata had a solid two-year spell at Juventus, winning five trophies and reaching a Champions League final against Barcelona.
Last summer, while being actively courted once again by Conte, this time at Chelsea, Morata returned to Real thanks to a €30 million buyback clause and with hopes of becoming a centrepiece for his childhood club. Alas, he was unable to do so, with Benzema once again the stumbling block on his path. He still managed to score 20 goals in just 1,872 minutes.
Now, the Spanish international with 20 caps and 9 goals arrives at Chelsea with the expectation of becoming the featured striker for the first time in his career. And for the foreseeable future.
Welcome, Álvaro. Let’s win lots of things!