Striker to grow under coach with 'most faith' in him

Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata getting the better of Granada midfielder Victorien Angban during a LaLiga match last season. The Spaniard scored 15 league goals in that campaign.
Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata getting the better of Granada midfielder Victorien Angban during a LaLiga match last season. The Spaniard scored 15 league goals in that campaign.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Chelsea are on the verge of completing the signing of Alvaro Morata after agreeing a club-record fee with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Spain striker was due to arrive in London yesterday to finalise the details of a five-year contract worth £150,000 (S$266,250) a week and to undergo a medical examination.

The English Premier League champions have agreed to pay Real an initial £58 million, though the transfer could ultimately be worth £70 million if Morata meets certain performance targets.

He will become the third most expensive player in English football after Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, who joined Manchester United for £89 million and £75 million respectively, when he completes his move to Chelsea. The fee eclipses the £50 million that the club paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres six years ago.

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Morata has been a key target for Antonio Conte since the manager joined Chelsea last summer, but he opted to stay at Real at that point, going on to score 15 goals in LaLiga as they completed a league and Champions League double.

"Chelsea and Real Madrid have agreed terms for the transfer of Alvaro Morata to Stamford Bridge," a Chelsea statement read on Wednesday. "The move is now subject to him agreeing personal terms and passing a medical."

Morata, who said his goodbyes to his Real team-mates at their UCLA training base in Los Angeles on Wednesday, told Spanish daily Marca: "I'm not disappointed about anything. I've won four titles here (with Real Madrid), but now I only think of putting on the Chelsea shirt.

"I want to grow up. If I didn't, I wouldn't have left. I'm going to the team managed by the coach who has placed the most faith in me, and that's great for me."

The 24-year-old has grown disillusioned at being primarily regarded as a back-up forward to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and sought a transfer to a club where he would be first choice.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is certain to leave after being allowed to miss their pre-season tour.

Morata had agreed to join United this summer but the Old Trafford club switched their attention to Lukaku after refusing to meet Real's valuation and were able to derail Chelsea's attempt to re-sign the Belgian.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'Striker to grow under coach with 'most faith' in him'. Print Edition | Subscribe