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Chelsea agree to deal with Real Madrid for Alvaro Morata

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Chelsea have gone all out and they’ve got their man.

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The reigning Premier League champions have confirmed they’ve agreed to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, with reports stating the fee agreed is $97 million.

This deal is the biggest in club history, and the Blues released the following statement on Wednesday.

Chelsea Football Club and Real Madrid have agreed terms for the transfer of Alvaro Morata to Stamford Bridge. The move is now subject to him agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.

Morata, 24, is a Spanish international forward, and helped Real to lift a second successive Champions League last season.

It is believed Morata will arrive in London on Thursday to have a medical and discuss personal terms, with the Spaniard currently on Real Madrid’s preseason tour of the U.S.

For most of the summer it seemed like Morata would end up at Manchester United but the Red Devils plumped for Romelu Lukaku, pipping Chelsea to his signature in a $96.5 million deal. Now the Spanish international striker (who has nine goals in 20 international appearances) is heading to west London.

Morata will link up with his former manager at Juventus, Antonio Conte, as the clinical forward will become Chelsea’s main striker with Diego Costa now expected to leave Stamford Bridge for Atletico Madrid as his feud with Conte has reached the end game.

Back to Morata, this is a massive moment for Conte and Chelsea in taking the next step in their progression to challenge on the European stage. The Italian coach signed a new and improved two-year deal on Tuesday and this signing must have been a big part in him agreeing to stay on and try to improve on his title-winning campaign in his debut season in England last year.

Last season Morata spent plenty of time behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, but still scored 20 goals as he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu following two fruitful years at Juventus.

Conte had taken Morata to Turin in 2014 and the predatory forward excelled in Serie A, scoring 27 goals in 93 games in all competitions. Overall he has netted 25 goals in 63 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid over the years with most of his appearances coming off the bench.

With Conte telling Chelsea’s leading goalscorer from last season, Costa, that he was no longer needed, the Blues badly needed someone to replace his goals and now they have their man after an exhaustive search which also saw them linked with Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andrea Belotti.

Both Costa and Nemanja Matic are likely to leave Chelsea this summer, but all of a sudden the reigning champs are looking strong with a new spine following the addition of Tiemoue Bakayoko in midfield, Antonio Rudiger in defense and Morata’s impending arrival up top.

Chelsea’s fans will be licking their chops at the prospect of Morata swiveling to head or volley home a cross from Pedro, Eden Hazard and/or Willian this season and beyond.

He has proven himself at two of Europe’s biggest clubs and now Morata is ready to lead Chelsea’s charge.

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Georgia teen heading to Schalke ]

Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”