Headlines: Chelsea complete the signing of Alvaro Morata for initial £58 million fee.
(Image from The Mirror)
Chelsea have finally got the striker they were looking for, with Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata arriving on a club record fee, and becoming the Premier League champions’ fourth signing of the summer, after Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, and Tiemoune Bakayoko. The Blues’ most expensive signing since fellow Spanish striker Fernando Torres arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2011, a lot is expected of the 24 year old, but how much of a success will he be at Chelsea? Let’s take a look at his recent form…
Morata came through the infamous Real Madrid academy after arriving at the club from neighbours Getafe. He made his debut for Los Blancos in 2010, but only made 37 appearances for them over 4 years, scoring 10 goals, with the club preferring Karim Benzema as their first choice striker. In 2014, he signed for Juventus for €20 million, and despite a mixed career in Turin, was a more regular part of the side there. He made 63 league appearances for Juve over 2 season, but scored a disappointing tally of 15 goals. However, it was in European competitions where he thrived, playing an influential role in his team’s run to the Champions League Final in 2015, where he scored in both legs of the semi-final, ironically against Real Madrid, his former side, and also in the final against Barcelona. He also found the net in his final game for the Old Lady in 2016, an extra time winner in the Coppa Italia against AC Milan. That summer, Real Madrid exercised a €30 million buy back clause in his contract, and had a more fruitful experience at the Santiago Bernabeu, scoring 15 goals in 26 appearances. However, most of those appearances came from the substitute bench, with coach Zinedine Zidane, once again, putting his trust in Benzema. He then completed a move to Chelsea in July 2017.
Morata’s Pros and Cons
Pros: Morata clearly comes with an excellent footballing CV, with two Champions League winners medals, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Italian domestic doubles. On top of this, he has a tendency to score goals in crucial games, as mentioned above, so Chelsea have found themselves another big-game player. Having won La Liga and the Champions League with Madrid this season just passed, he, like his new employers in west London, has come off the back of recent success, so matches their ambition of retaining trophies in 2017/18.
Cons: However, the Spaniard still hasn’t lived up to the bill as a main striker yet, and while he had his best scoring season off the bench at Madrid in 2016/17, his inability to find the net very often at Juventus, while playing 30 games a season will be of a concern to Antonio Conte. Morata will need time to get used to the physicality of the Premier League, but with Roman Abramovich’s high expectations as Chelsea owner, that may not be an option for the 24 year-old and may need to find the net quickly and regularly, to justify his large transfer fee. Another concern is that he wasn’t Antonio Conte’s first choice, with the Blues missing out on their former striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United. Morata will once again need to justify that the Premier League champions made the right decision to sign him.
How will he fit in at Chelsea?
Morata is not necessarily flexible with regards to his position. He will almost certainly play centre forward at the Bridge next season, replacing the outgoing Diego Costa and competing with Michy Batshuayi and potentially even Loic Remy, who has been on Chelsea’s tour of Asia, for a starting spot.
What else do Chelsea need?
It’s very difficult to improve a side that won a record 30 out of 38 Premier League games last campaign, but with Champions League football a new feature for Conte’s Chelsea, some more depth will be required. They’ve done that with the signing of Bakayoko, who will rotate with Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kanté over the course of the season, with Nemanja Matic set to leave the club. Rudiger will also rotate with last season’s back three of Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta. Another centre back is probably needed for the Blues, with only four players competing for three spots, but that role is expected to be filled by Andreas Christensen, who has come through the Cobham academy. A place where the Blues could also strengthen are the wing back positions, and while Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso were huge successes last season, there’s no real back-up options for them, hence why the Blues have been strongly linked with Juventus’ Alex Sandro and Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain over the course of the summer transfer window.
Would it be a Good Signing: 7/10