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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.

Report: Alvaro Morata heading to Chelsea for $97 million

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Alvaro Morata is on his way to Chelsea, according to reports from Italy.

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Morata, 24, looked to be heading to Manchester United for most of the summer but Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils chose to pursue Romelu Lukaku instead and pipped Chelsea to signing the Belgian striker for $96.5 million.

It now appears that Real Madrid’s Morata, who is currently on their preseason tour of the USA, is ready to switch Madrid for London in a $97 million deal and link-up with Antonio Conte once again.

Chelsea’s manager signed a new and improved two-year deal on Tuesday and after previous reports stated he was “frustrated” by the lack of summer signings at Stamford Bridge, it now appears he has landed his top target with Morata a ready-made replacement for Diego Costa.

Costa is on his way out of Stamford Bridge with his very public fall-out with Conte reaching new lows all the time.

Chelsea simply have to offload their wantaway striker as soon as possible — he wants to re-join Atletico Madrid but the move is complicated due to their transfer ban until January 2018 — with Conte telling the Spanish international at the start of the summer that he was no longer needed.

What will Morata bring?

It feels like we’ve been analyzing his skills all summer long, but the Spaniard is a true center forward who can hold the ball up, is good in the air and is clinical when he gets chances. Morata is just 24 years old but after spending the past season at Real Madrid sitting behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, he needs to play regularly.

Conte worked with Morata at Juventus and although that wasn’t his most clinical spell the Spanish international has scored 25 goals in 63 La Liga appearances for Real (mostly off the bench) and he scored 27 goals in 93 appearances for Juve in all competitions from 2014-16.

Chelsea have the players to provide Morata with chances and Conte obviously believes he can deliver the goals his team will lose after Costa’s departure. With Lukaku moving to United, and Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said to be staying at their respective clubs, was Morata Chelsea’s first choice to replace Costa?

Who knows, but it’s certainly an intriguing question to ponder as the reigning PL champs scramble around for a new star striker. It’s a lot of cash to spend and would be a club record fee by some distance, but with so many goals and appearances at two of Europe’s biggest clubs at such a young age, Morata’s potential is huge.

Analyzing contenders in Chelsea’s hunt for star striker

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With Diego Costa‘s Chelsea future seemingly non existent, who will Antonio Conte turn to for goals this season?

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The Chelsea boss has to first offload Costa, which is proving problematic given the striker only wants to re-join Atletico Madrid and their current transfer ban is making his departure complex.

One thing which is easy to understand is that Conte wants Costa out and the sooner the 28-year-old Spaniard departs, the sooner his replacement can arrive.

After losing out on Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, Conte has seen his options diminish when it comes to signing a new striker to spearhead Chelsea’s quest for success in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

Below is a look a the contenders to replace Costa, with all five players linked with a move to Chelsea over recent weeks (or in Alvaro Morata’s case, many months).


Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) – Transfer value, $103 million
With James Rodriguez leaving Real Madrid for Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal, it appears Morata may well stay with the reigning European champs after all. Chelsea, and Conte, have been long-time admirers of Morata and the Spanish international is about to enter his prime. If he stays at Real Madrid he will still be behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Karem Benzema and Gareth Bale in the pecking order, but Zinedine Zidane appears to want to play the 24-year-old more. If he doesn’t, perhaps this deal happens later in August but Chelsea will surely want their main man to be in place by the start of the season on Aug. 11. Real’s valuation is another stumbling block.

Andrea Belotti (Torino) – Transfer value, $114 million
He has become an oft mentioned target for both Man United and Chelsea during the summer window and the Italian forward has had two impressive seasons for Torino, scoring 38 goals in 70 Serie A games. “The Rooster” possess a powerful shot, is a clinical finisher and is quick off the mark. He is everything a modern forward should be, hence why clubs around Europe are willing to pay big money to sign him. That said, Torino are holding out for $114 million and that doesn’t seem likely. Belotti is just 23 years old and has never played in European competition, but he does have four goals in nine games for the Italian national team.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) – Transfer value, $80 million
Reports state that Dortmund are willing to let the 28-year-old leave for $80 million this summer and he could be just the man Chelsea need. The price is high, but Aubameyang has pedigree in the UCL and he led the Bundesliga in goals last season nwith 31 from 32 games. He can run the channels, lead the line and is good in the air. The Gabon striker would appear to be the perfect fit for what Chelsea need and he’s used to playing in a fluid front three from his time at Dortmund. If Chelsea can get the fee down to $70 million, then surely he will be their first choice to replace Costa.

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) – Transfer value, $60 million
Palace aren’t willing to sell Benteke this summer but with Everton and Chelsea reportedly interested, could a bid of over $60 million twist their arm? Benteke, 26, scored 17 goals in a struggling Palace side last season and his pedigree as a clinical finisher is clear for all to see. Benteke’s arrival may not wow the Chelsea faithful, but if Conte is looking for a pure finisher who can hold the ball up and be a menace in the air, Benteke is your man.

Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) – Transfer value, $15 million
A bit out of left field, but there’s definite interest in Llorente from Chelsea with Conte working with him at Juventus in the past. Llorente scored 15 goals in a poor Swansea side last season and despite his broken arm, which means he’ll likely miss the start of the season, the Spanish veteran (32) has plenty to offer. Signing Llorente would mean Conte backs Michy Batshuayi to be his main striker next season and that seems unlikely given the lack of playing time for the Belgian last season.

Quick look at the other options: Even though Alexis Sanchez would be perfect, it’s unlikely Arsenal will sell him to a London and Premier League rival, and the same could be said for Olivier Giroud. Daniel Sturridge would be an intriguing buy, but after his tumultuous spell at Chelsea in the past a return seems unlikely. Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan is a poacher but the Argentine would cost big bucks from Inter Milan and another cheap but potentially solid option is Mexico’s Javier Hernandez with his contract at Bayer Leverkusen said to have a release clause of less than $18 million.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Balde Diao to Chelsea, Mahrez to stay

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With Romelu Lukaku almost certainly headed to Manchester United, the transfer slate on Saturday is somewhat light. Teams are reacting to the big news of the morning and planning accordingly, with many Premier League clubs now looking to reevaluate the striker market after a big domino falls.

The biggest rumors on Saturday seem to be who won’t be moving instead of who will.

According to The Independent, Tottenham will not even consider offers for midfielder Eric Dier, who has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid in the past.

Jose Mourinho is looking for a defensive midfielder, and rumors seem to be pointing him in the direction of Nemanja Matic, but Dier’s name has come up. The report states Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is not willing to listen to offers for the 23-year-old. Levy has been successful in taking a hard-line stance in the past, both in his valuation of players such as Gareth Bale, or in his decision not to sell at any price such as Harry Kane or Moussa Dembele.


Another player who may not be moving is Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. According to multiple reports, with The Mirror first on the story, Arsenal has decided to move on from its interest in Mahrez.

The Gunners have long been linked with the Algerian ever since he won PFA Player of the Year during Leicester’s title run. Now, however, with their sights reportedly set on Monaco’s young winger Thomas Lemar, they have apparently put Mahrez on the back burner.

Reportedly, the reason for their lessening of interest is Leicester’s hard-line stance on their valuation of Mahrez, which is apparently above $64 million. This, coupled with the regression Mahrez saw last season has seen Arsenal decide against pursuing a move.

Mahrez told reporters in May that he wishes to leave the Foxes, and that has caused clubs to come calling, but also served to dampen his value on the transfer market with teams knowing Leicester is looking to sell. Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare told Sky Sports today that no bids have been submitted just yet for the 26-year-old.


With Romelu Lukaku slipping from Chelsea’s grasp, there will be plenty of rumors on who the Blues will chase now for their next striker. It’s still possible that Diego Costa could stay and man the front line, but with Antonio Conte apparently preferring other options, expect to see plenty of names crop up over the next month.

Many popular choices include Alvaro Morata and Andrea Belotti, but both players will cost a hefty sum, and the Blues are likely to see that as a last resort. Instead, they could look to cheaper options, with Lazio’s Keita Balde Diao reportedly on the list.

According to Italian TV station Mediaset Premium, Diao is a possibility for the Blues with other clubs in Italy not so keen. AC Milan had a $23 million bid accepted back in early June according to Diao’s agent, but the player turned it down hoping for a move to Juventus. When that didn’t materialize, his situation was back to the drawing board.

Diao’s contract expires next summer, and he does not look likely to sign a new deal at Lazio.


One player who will be tough to keep in one place is Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho. The Reds lightning rod is a stellar player, and is a popular transfer rumor subject every summer for that reason.

According to French paper L’Equipe, Paris Saint-Germain is hoping to bring in Coutinho should they fail to pry Kylian Mbappe free of Monaco. PSG has been heavily linked with Mbappe, with the financial means to make it happen, but they may have to pay a premium to convince Monaco to sell its best player to a direct league rival.

Thus, should the Mbappe project fail, Coutinho is reportedly an option. Liverpool reportedly isn’t opposed to a sale, but it would cost PSG around $98 million, according to the report. The Reds also need to have a replacement lined up, and replacing the Brazilian playmaker is no easy task.

Southampton’s days of selling over?

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Southampton are no longer a selling club. At least, not right now.

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Executive Director Les Reed told Sky Sports in the UK that Saints will not be selling Virgil Van Dijk or Cedric Soares this summer, despite constant reports linking the duo with a move away from St Mary’s.

Speaking about the “bold” decision to fire Claude Puel and hire Mauricio Pellegrino over the summer, the main decision maker at Southampton said he hoped hiring Argentine coach Pellegrino would bring “stability” to the club which has so often lost star names since returning to the PL in 2012.

Reed further reinforced Saints’ solid stance that no stars will depart this summer, starting with Van Dijk and Soares.

“None of those players are for sale. I can’t make it any plainer than that and that’s the way we mean to go forward,” Reed said. “We built this squad over some time and think we have a strong squad. We will fine-tune it but, other than that, we are looking forward to a very competitive season next year and we plan to go forward on that basis. There may be players that go on the basis it is the right thing for them and the club at that given time, but we don’t expect that to be wholesale and this is simply doing sound business in the transfer window.”

The main thing for teams like Southampton is that selling players will no longer significantly boost their financial power. After finishing in the top eight of the Premier League in each of the past four seasons, plus having long-term deals with Under Armour, Virgin Media and many other sponsors, they’re set up to try and compete with the PL’s elite, as are each team who have benefited from the huge financial deals the PL have enjoyed over the past few years.

Plus, they are still in negotiations with Chinese investors Lander Sports about majority ownership potentially switching from the Liebherr family to give them more funds to invest in their squad. Saints believe they are ready to kick on to the next stage and aren’t willing to give up any more of their gems.

ProSoccerTalk spoke with Saints chairman Ralph Krueger in May and he was pleased to see several of Saints’ current stars locked down to new contract — Van Dijk, Oriol Romeu, Ryan Bertrand, James Ward-Prowse and Fraser Forster all have new long-term deals — and insisted nobody needed to be sold. Saints have said this in the past but this time it feels a little different, and more serious.

After making princely sums for Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin in the past, plus moving on Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle who were entering the final year of their contracts for sizable fees, Saints have a reputation as being an easy target for the PL’s top six to buy from.

Yet, with Liverpool forced to apologize after their alleged illegal pursuit of Saints’ star man and captain Van Dijk earlier this month, it appears the South Coast club is getting serious about their best players not being unsettled and remaining at Southampton. Van Dijk’s transfer value is set to be north of $75 million, and it now appears that Southampton will turn down any offer for their classy Dutch center back. That’s a huge shift in club policy, with Saints labeled a selling club for much of their recent history as Alan Shearer, Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are just a few of the star names who moved on from Saints in the past.

Whether or not this new policy can help them break through the glass-ceiling of sixth place (where they finished in 2015-16) and challenge regularly for a European spot remains to be seen, but after years of making big profits on their best players Southampton finally seem to be putting a halt to moving on stars consistently and replacing them with plenty of new gems each season.

That model has worked well for them financially, but last season’s regression — despite reaching the EFL Cup Final and having a Europa League campaign to negotiate they still finished eighth in the PL, but totaled 17 fewer points compared to their previous campaign — suggests they’re at a crucial point in their plans to become a regular contender to push into the top six.

Delivering Europa League action each season is the aim and Pellegrino will have a tough enough task to achieve that in his first season coaching in England.

That said, his task will be made much easier if Van Dijk, Soares and Co. do stick around as Southampton state they will.