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Morata insists on staying at Atleti, club set to extend his contract, per Spanish radio

The latest developments on the Spain forward’s future.

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More Morata?

Cadena COPE reporter Antonio Ruiz claimed Monday night that the Spain striker will be Diego Simeone’s center-forward next season, with the player’s entourage telling Atlético Madrid that he has no intention of leaving (unless there is an “irresistible” offer from abroad).

Morata spent the past two seasons on loan at Juventus, and the Italian side had the option to bring him in on a permanent transfer this summer. However, Atlético would not budge on its €35 million asking price — a fee the Bianconeri were unwilling to pay. The 29-year-old’s idea now is to return to Atleti and fight for his place, even in a World Cup year.

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Curiously, Ruiz also reported that Atlético have secretly agreed to extend Morata’s contract to 2024.

Álvaro’s link to the club was set to expire next season, part of the reason Juve wouldn’t pony up the cash Atlético requested. If he is really going to stay at the Metropolitano, the play here might be to spread out his salary over an additional season to bring some relief to a €200 million-plus wage bill. Atleti employed this strategy just last summer, extending Vitolo’s contract by two years to 2024 and subsequently loaning him to Getafe.

Or, this could all be a smokescreen, and the club’s way of putting Morata back in the shop window — it’s easier for a buying club to justify an expensive outlay for a player who has two seasons left on his contract as opposed to just one.

It all depends on the market, which Atlético cannot join until it can raise at least €40 million in player sales, as club president Enrique Cerezo confirmed Monday. Selling Morata for €30 million or more would be a great place to start, but the forward’s plan seems to center on staying in Spain.