Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Chelsea reportedly don’t plan to sell Alvaro Morata this summer, unless their club-record signing asks to leave, despite rumours Juventus want to bring the striker back to Serie A.
The Daily Telegraph‘s Matt Law reported “Juventus are interested in re-signing Morata, who has made no secret of his fondness of Turin.”
Juve general manager Beppe Marotta recently hinted bringing Morata back is an idea the Turin club might consider, provided the fee was right, per Alec Shilton of The Sun.
Earlier this month, Italian source Corriere dello Sport (h/t David Cartlidge of Football Whispers, via Sky Sports) reported the Bianconeri was ready to negotiate with Chelsea ahead of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against holders Real Madrid.
Alastair Grant/Associated Press
However, Law also noted how the Blues’ hierarchy still considers Morata a key player, despite the former Real attacker enduring an inconsistent first season at Stamford Bridge.
Law pointed out there’s a belief at Chelsea the club has given up on younger players too soon in the past. Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah, who have starred for Manchester City and Liverpool since leaving the Bridge, are cited as the main examples.
It’s a reasonable argument since Morata is still only 25. He’s also scored 15 goals and provided six assists across all competitions, despite some patchy form in front of goal.
Morata’s latest goal helped seal a 2-0 win over Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final. He had come off the bench to replace Olivier Giroud after being left out of the starting XI.
The omission of Morata at the start came after he was guilty of a shocking miss during Chelsea’s 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Manager Antonio Conte was less than impressed with Morata, who was visibly irked when he was substituted late on, per Eurosport UK’s Dan Levene:
Dan Levene @danlevene
Conte on Morata: “I think that Alvaro must be angry, because when you have a chance to score – you have to score. Especially for a striker.”
Morata has made a habit of missing when in one-on-one situations, with Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard critical of an apparent lack of “passion” from the striker who cost an initial £57 million last summer.
Yet for all his problems with the ball at his feet, Morata has been a force in the air. His headed finish against the Saints continued an impressive run, per OptaJoe:
9 – Alvaro Morata has scored nine headed goals in all comps; two more than any other Premier League player. Bonce.
Morata’s pace, technique and aerial threat means he still has value in Conte’s squad. However, the uncertain future of the manager who brought him to both Juve and west London could impact Morata’s stay at the Bridge.
Conte is expected to be replaced this summer, with Napoli chief Maurizio Sarri lined up to take over, according to Joe Strange of MailOnline.
Bringing Conte’s two-year tenure to an end doesn’t necessarily mean Morata won’t have a future at the club. Chelsea need support for Giroud up top, while Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has said he’d be interested in a permanent deal for Michy Batshauyi, who joined the Bundesliga club on loan in January, per Sport Bild (h/t ESPN FC’s Stefan Buczko).
Cashing in on Batshuayi while keeping Morata is the best way for Chelsea to ensure they retain enough firepower to pose a stronger challenge for the title next season.