Chelsea have been blindsided by their Premier League rivals in negotiating for the Belgian, but Real still expect to sell their striker
Manchester United’s frustration with Real Madrid over their stubborn Alvaro Morata stance and bad blood over previous deals led to their £75 million move for Everton’s Romelu Lukaku.
Real Madrid had been demanding €90 million (£79m/$102m) for Morata, who had become Jose Mourinho’s first choice to replace top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and outgoing captain Wayne Rooney up front.
After having an €80m bid rejected by the Champions League winners earlier this week, United decided to end their negotiations with Real Madrid and turn to Lukaku.
There remains some resentment on Man Utd’s side over previous dealings, such as their deadline day bid for David de Gea two years ago and United’s purchase of Angel Di Maria in 2014.
Lukaku, who scored 26 goals last season for Everton, is instead expected to lead the line for the Red Devils in 2017-18 – with their Antoine Griezmann interest over for the time being – and any chance of Morata also being signed as well is incredibly slim.
Chelsea had previously been leading the race for the Belgium international, 24, but could now turn to Morata having missed out on their top striker target.
Chelsea need to sign a new striker after Diego Costa was told he is no longer wanted at the club by Antonio Conte via a text message, but they will be keen to avoid paying Real Madrid’s €90m asking price.
Conte is a huge fan of Morata and he has had private conversations in the past where he informed the Madrid-born hitman that he liked his playing style.
Despite driving a hard bargain with Man Utd, Real Madrid are keen to cash in on Morata, who was unhappy over his playing time last season, to finance moves for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe and Real Betis’ Dani Ceballos.
That willingness to sell could decrease their asking price as the transfer window progresses, with a price tag for the 24-year-old Spaniard likely to be between €70m and €90m, although negotiations with Chelsea are yet to begin.
Morata’s move to Juventus in 2014 was in part due to Conte who spotted the opportunity to sign the young striker from the Santiago Bernabeu, but he departed to the Italy national team before he got the chance to work with him.
Atletico Madrid also have an agreement in place for Costa but are fine tuning their relationship with Chelsea over a transfer fee. Costa is happy to move back to Atletico, despite the club’s transfer ban which would mean that he can’t play for six months.