Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement over the permanent transfer of Spanish striker Alvaro Morata.
Spanish international Alvaro Morata has joined La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid from Premier League giants Chelsea on a permanent deal, the Blues have announced on their official website.
Morata joined Chelsea in the summer of 2017 from Real Madrid in a then club-record deal of £60 million. After a blazing start to life in England, the striker found himself struggling for form and fitness, finishing his debut campaign with the West Londoners with a return of 15 goals and 6 assists from 48 matches.
Thank you and good luck, @AlvaroMorata. 👊
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 6, 2019
The 2018-19 season saw Morata’s struggles in front of goal compound further. The 26-year-old managed just 5 goals in 16 Premier League outings in the first half of the campaign, which led to the Blues bringing in Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus as they allowed Morata to join Atletico Madrid on loan for the second half of the season.
The initial loan deal agreed between the two clubs was for an eighteen-month period with the transfer then set to be made permanent. Hence, Morata will remain on loan at Atletico for the 2019-20 season, as agreed in January, before the transfer is made permanent on July 1, 2020.
Morata, in the second half of the season, played in 15 La Liga matches for Atletico Madrid, in which he showed signs of form, scoring 6 goals and setting up one more. With Los Rojiblancos set to lose Antoine Griezmann this summer, the signing of the former Real Madrid star comes as a boost for the club.
This is the second high-profile departure from Chelsea this summer. The Blues saw star man Eden Hazard leave for Real Madrid in the ongoing transfer window and now Morata too has sealed a switch to the Spanish capital, albeit to Atletico.
📝 | Agreement with @ChelseaFC over the transfer of @AlvaroMorata from July 1, 2020. The striker will play at our club on loan this season and the move will become permanent ahead of the 2020-2021 season
👉 https://t.co/dX4mI5Nxgw#AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/rpU8Tex0S3
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) July 6, 2019
According to a report from BBC Sport, Chelsea will pocket a transfer fee of around £58 million for the Spanish international. Morata departs the club having made 72 appearances in total, during which he scored 24 goals and won a FA Cup.
A statement on the official Chelsea website read, “Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have today agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Alvaro Morata. We would like to thank Alvaro for his contribution and wish him the best of luck for the future.”
With Morata leaving and Higuain also returning to Juventus, it will be interesting to see who Chelsea use as their first-choice centre-forward next season.
Newly-appointed manager Frank Lampard will have the experienced Olivier Giroud to call upon, while academy graduate Tammy Abraham will be another exciting option after a successful loan spell at Aston Villa, whereas Michy Batshuayi could also get a chance to revive his career at Stamford Bridge.