Chelsea made the splashy move to sign high-profile striker Alvaro Morata away from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017. The Blues got off to a hot start this season under first-year manager Maurizio Sarri, but the team’s form has fallen back to earth over the last month or so.
The Blues are still fourth in the Premier League through 21 matches, though their odds of winning the league title this term have taken a serious hit. You don’t need to read a lengthy online betting guide to know that Chelsea are a long shot at +5000 to rise to the top of the table by season’s end.
One of the scapegoats for Chelsea’s recent struggles has been Morata, who has been unable to reach the heights many had hoped since leaving Spain two summers ago. The player is reportedly unhappy in England, and there are rumors regarding potential interest in a move back to his native Spain.
ESPN FC reported on Wednesday that Morata’s agent, Juanma Lopez, has traveled to London in order to try and negotiate a transfer back to La Liga. The agent is trying to urge Chelsea to go through with a loan move that would send Morata to Sevilla during the January window.
Lopez reportedly met with Sevilla director Joaquin Caparros earlier this week in order to try and negotiate a potential deal for the former Real Madrid striker. Morata has found the back of the net 9 times through his first 24 matches at Stamford Bridge, and he has started just 18 games under Sarri.
Caparros publicly confirmed his club’s interest in Morata during an interview that aired on the club’s television channel. Caparros said that Sevilla would like to sign at least one forward during the January window in order to complement Andre Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder up front.
Sevilla are currently third in the La Liga table, but the schedule is about to get crowded with the side also participating in Copa Del Rey and Europa League in the coming weeks and months. Manager Pablo Machin prefers a 3-5-2 formation with two forwards up front, so Morata would see plenty of playing time if he were to move back to Spain.
Morata would reportedly be open to a move back to Spain in order to get his career back on track following what has been an uneven year-and-a-half.
While Sevilla would love to land a player of Morata’s caliber, he certainly won’t come cheap. The total cost of the move could wind up being a roadblock that eventually tanks any deal. Caparros said that negotiations could be difficult due to the total fee, including Morata’s wages, that Chelsea would be seeking in order to find themselves a replacement if he were to leave this month.
Caparros said, “It is true that we have monitored Morata’s situation but it’s also true that it’s a very, very complex operation because of the cost of the transfer.”
While there is a chance Morata stays in England, Sevilla’s manager is excited by the prospects of potentially landing a player of his caliber. Machin said, “Big teams have big players. Then the coach has to manage those players. I say that the players themselves are the ones who put themselves in the lineup with their performances.”
He added, “Having Morata would be a good problem for me. Or I’ll even take away the word problem. It would be a blessing for me. No one gets anything for free. At the time, they [Chelsea] paid a lot of money because he was worth it. Many teams want him because he’s worth it. Morata has excelled at Juventus, at Madrid and is producing good performances at Chelsea. The reality and numbers back this up.”
Machin is also pleased that the club’s pursuit of Morata shows that the side has big aspirations. He added, “We have to be aware of our expectations. We are trying to approach players that very few clubs have access to. The objective of the club is clear: wanting to bring the best in. If due to finances it can’t go ahead, nobody can feel frustrated. If we can’t, we will lower the bar a bit. They [the club officials] will know how long we can wait before changing the target and if someone can help us as soon as possible.”
Reports in Seville indicate that Morata has indicated that he would be willing to accept less in weekly wages in order to help facilitate a move back to Spain as soon as possible.
Morata, 26, is under contract with Chelsea through June of 2022. He is set to earn about €9 million per season, and he has reportedly also been on the radar of teams in Germany and Italy. However, Caparros says Morata is much more interested in moving back to the Spanish top flight.
Caparros said, “It’s true that he [Morata] may want to move to Sevilla above other options but I reiterate that it’s a hugely difficult move because Chelsea is a difficult club to negotiate with. Negotiation is an art. We do have good and experienced negotiators at the club.”
Chelsea signed Morata away from Real Madrid for a reported fee of £60 million in the summer of 2017. He began his professional career with Real Madrid before moving to Juventus in 2014. Real re-signed Morata away from Italy in 2016 before shipping him to England in 2017.