Álvaro Morata’s return to Atlético Madrid has gone about as well as expected, if not better. The Spain forward’s 13 goals are the fourth-highest haul in LaLiga, not to mention his most in a league campaign since 2016/17. Morata could become the first Spanish-born Atlético player to win the Zarra Trophy as the league’s top Spanish-born scorer — only Espanyol’s Joselu (14) has more goals than Morata as the season enters its final month.
(Technically, Diego Costa won the Zarra in 2013/14, but he was born in Brazil and became a Spanish citizen later.)
Morata’s solid season, though at times unspectacular, has been good enough to entice Atlético into offering him a new contract, as Relevo reported last month. However, the sides haven’t reached an agreement yet, and Morata’s contract expires after next season.
Juventus have tried several times to reach an agreement with Atlético over Morata, but another Italian suitor might be emerging — recently-deposed Serie A champions AC Milan.
Per Javi Gómara, writing in Mundo Deportivo on Tuesday:
This is not the first time that Morata has been on Milan’s wishlist, but the side from Lombardy believes that the timing and conditions are right for the Spain captain to play at San Siro from June. And it is his contractual situation at the Metropolitan that makes Milan optimistic.
If Morata does not extend his contract, Atlético will seek to sell him in the summer. The desire is for him to stay, because the club is delighted with him, and not only for his performance on the field (he has 15 goals in all competitions) but also for everything he contributes off it.
There have already been conversations for Morata’s renewal, and the player already knows that if he wants to stay in Atlético, he will have to lower his salary. The offer from Atlético is lower, and although Morata is also comfortable at the Metropolitano, at 30 years old, he is aware that he may be in line for only one more big contract.
This sounds a lot like the Yannick Carrasco situation. Carrasco turns 30 this year and also has a contract that ends in 2024. It seems he will renew with Atlético only if “the conditions” are right — meaning a lower salary, or an arrangement that features deferred money. Otherwise, he’ll be on his way this summer.
Should Atleti renew Morata’s contract?
This poll is closed
Yes — at worst, he’s a high-quality backup
No — sell him and sign someone better
Gómara reports that Champions League semifinalists Milan could offer €15 million for Morata, though Atlético would like a fee closer to €30 million — or simply to reach an agreement with the player. Atleti do not wish to enter the transfer market for a new forward unless it is absolutely necessary, given the club brought in Memphis Depay during the winter window and still has to sort out the João Félix situation.
Also, you’d expect the appetite is low for replacing a Madrid native who plays the position at a good level — and currently captains La Roja, to boot.