Atletico Madrid are aiming to end Alvaro Morata’s nightmare spell in England, by taking him on loan until the end of the season with a view to buying in the summer. Should the move be successful, Chelsea will almost certainly make a £50million move for Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson.
The Independent has been told there have already been meetings between intermediaries over Morata, with Atletico wanting to move quick due to potential competition.
Despite Morata struggling at Stamford Bridge and going on long goal droughts since his summer 2017 move, the striker still has a lot of interest, with Sevilla, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund also looking.
Sevilla had been the first club to make a move, but see the potential deal as “very complicated”, and are balking at having to pay the £5m remaining of Morata’s salary this season.
Atletico do not have such constraints, and their sporting director Andrea Berta is understood to have already made trips to London to try and move a deal along. Chelsea's policy is to never sell when a player's perceived value is low, but to send out on loan first.
Atletico, however, are still interested in buying in the summer. The two clubs have had similar deals before and conducted a lot of business together, most notably over Fernando Torres.
Morata himself would prefer to play for a club still in the Champions League. Should a deal be concluded, Chelsea will act on long-term interest in Wilson, who has scored nine goals in 16 games for Bournemouth this season and earned a first international cap for England. That has also attracted the interest of Tottenham Hotspur, but the 26-year-old is said to favour a move to Chelsea.
Morata arrived at Stamford Bridge for just under £60m in summer 2017 after also being pursued by Manchester United, and was at that time Chelsea’s record transfer. Despite a good start that saw him score seven goals in his first seven games - including a hat-trick away to Stoke City, as well as a key goal away to Atletico - he soon went on a drought that affected his confidence and has never fully recovered.
Other Chelsea players are meanwhile understood to have been frustrated with what has been perceived as a meek attitude, and often implored Morata to offer more fight on the pitch.
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