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Morata closing in on return to Italy; Inter pushing hardest

The Spain international is expected to leave this summer — despite renewing his contract to 2026.

Croatia v Spain - UEFA Nations League, Final Photo by Henk Jan Dijks/BSR Agency/Getty Images

About a month ago, it was reported that Álvaro Morata had a fairly-low release clause inserted into his contract — the one he renewed with Atlético Madrid at the start of June. Since then, conflicting reports have emerged over the precise value of the clause, but all agree that Atlético are willing to sell Morata Los Rojiblancos’ second-best goalscorer last season — for €20 million.

And interest in Morata continues to grow, to the point where the Spain forward’s departure is now considered inevitable in the coming days.

Two reports Monday stated Champions League finalists Inter Milan are the leading candidates to acquire Morata, who is open to leaving again and returning to Serie A. José Mourinho’s Roma, which narrowly lost last season’s Europa League final, have reportedly spoken with Morata’s agent Juanma López. There’s also interest from Saudi Pro League sides Al-Hilal and Al-Ettifaq, which recently hired Steven Gerrard as head coach.

Although the destination isn’t yet known, it’s becoming clear that Morata will leave this summer when it once appeared he would be sticking around the Cívitas Metropolitano for at least another couple seasons. As was the case in his first stint with Atlético, Morata never quite won over Diego Simeone, who started him in 23 of his 36 league appearances (64 percent) last year. But the 30-year-old produced a solid return of 13 goals in LaLiga, which once again piqued the interest of the Italian clubs now fighting over him.

A €20 million fee for Morata is in line with the player’s market value, and — after factoring in the €20 million in loan fees from Juventus between 2020 and 2022 — Atlético will recover around €40 million for the striker, who was acquired outright from Chelsea in 2020 for €55 million.

With Morata heading for the exit, the race is on for Atlético to find another capable center-forward to compete with Memphis. The club also continues to work on finding another pivot to compete with Koke, while a potential João Félix sale remains stuck in neutral.