By now every veteran professional football player knows by heart the script he’s supposed to recite when he’s under contract but the subject of transfer rumors.
It goes something like: “I’m with [insert club name here] as I have a contract until [insert year here] and everything else is out of my control”. When footballers deviate from that script, they often get into trouble because it tends to fuel media speculation.
Alvaro Morata just deviated from that script. He’s been the center of transfer rumors since May, when it was reported that Juventus had their eye on him. Inadvertently or not, he fanned the flames when he was photographed “coincidentally meeting” and talking to Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici in a ritzy Milan shopping district.
Now he’s dispensed with another layer of the facade, hanging out in Venice, his wife’s home town, and more interestingly, Turin, Juventus’s home turf.
This photo is from a well-known Turin restaurant that’s frequented by Juventus players. Given that he played with the Bianconeri for two seasons, it makes sense that he’d know the place.
A reporter from Italian outlet SportMediaset asked him why he was there. This is what he said:
“We’re here to attend a birthday party”
And those Juventus rumors?
“Right now I don’t know anything about my future. Right now I’m just thinking about my holidays.”
Okay, so maybe he was at a private event and just wanted to hustle his questioner away. He gave a short, nondescript answer and left it at that. But it’s a deviation from the tried-and-true script. He stated that he doesn’t know anything about his future. Given that he’s under contract to Chelsea until 2022 and came over for a club-record transfer fee (£58m initial cost with £12m add-ons), there shouldn’t be any mystery about where he’ll be playing next season.
Unless there is. Chelsea have been linked with Icardi and Lewandowski in improbable-sounding deals. It seems hard to believe that the club would spend so much money on a position it has well-staffed with Morata, Giroud and Batshuayi.
But is circumstantial evidence building that some kind of deal is in the works? One thing’s for sure, there’s never a dull moment at Chelsea.