Reports in the Spanish press Thursday morning claim that Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has settled on Álvaro Morata as his center-forward for 2022 and beyond.
Morata, currently on loan at Juventus, is considered unlikely to return to Atlético Madrid next summer. Juve have dawdled on triggering the purchase option attached to his two-year loan deal — partially due to financial concerns at the club, but also due to the player’s unconvincing form. Despite his brilliance for Spain’s national team, Morata has not always impressed in Turin over the past year-plus. The 29-year-old has nine total goal contributions (seven goals/two assists) in 23 appearances between Serie A and the Champions League this season.
This all means Barcelona’s apparent interest in a permanent transfer — as stated by AS, Marca, and Mundo Deportivo’s Edu Polo — might correspond with a sigh of relief from the Wanda Metropolitano.
It is thought that Diego Simeone does not have Morata in his plans for the 2022/23 season. The player’s return of 18 goals from 49 league games between 2019 and 2020 did not impress Cholo, who often benched him in crucial fixtures. The decision to jettison him and pursue Luis Suárez resulted in Atlético winning LaLiga in 2020/21.
Morata’s potential homecoming would also impact Atleti’s revenue-based wage bill, which is already at LaLiga’s imposed limits.
This deal will be difficult to complete midseason, seeing as Atlético and Juve first have to reach an agreement to break Morata’s loan in order to send him back to Spain. And per usual, Barça’s financial woes will come into play here. The blaugrana signed Ferrán Torres from Manchester City earlier this week, but they will be looking to move high earners in January and are unlikely to want to cover 100 percent of Morata’s salary. Atlético could feasibly demand a straight swap of Morata’s rights with Antoine Griezmann’s, with the Frenchman’s purchase obligation set at €40 million.
Let’s wait and see!
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