Chelsea's costly mistake: Alvaro Morata
Chelsea have worked remarkably well in recruiting modern strikers in the 21st century. Didier Drogba, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola, Diego Costa were all went to reach the highest peaks of their career during their days in Chelsea. But on the other hand, the Blues have also had big money flop strikers too.
When Chelsea signed Andriy Schevchenko from AC Milan in 2006 for £30M, the Ukrainian was one of the hottest properties in Europe. By that time he had won the champions league with Milan in 2003 and won the Ballon d'Or in 2004. But the star striker did fail to live the expectations at Chelsea, having scored just nine goals in 48 league games and 23 goals in 76 games in all competitions.
When Torres was signed from struggling Liverpool during the midway of 2010-11 season, the Spanian was at the peak of his career. Torres had 65 premier league goals in 102 appearances for the reds, whereas he had just 20 in 110 league appearances for the Blues. After Drogba left Chelsea in 2012, Torres was made as the key man of 2012-13 season by both the managers of Chelsea that season - Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, but the Spanian was able to net only eight league goals in 36 appearances that season.
It is quite absurd that Alvaro Morata has also joined Chelsea's tale of big spending flopping strikers. When Chelsea signed Morata from Real Madrid in 2017 for £60M, every team in the world would have had him. By seeing the transfer happening, Cristiano Ronaldo was found fuming at Real for letting the player of such qualities to go. Playing time for Morata in Real in 2016-17 season was limited, but the striker managed to score nearly 20 league goals.
By the time he joined Chelsea in 2017, Morata had won two Serie A titles, a la liga title, a champions league winner medal, a champions league runner medal, and more notably the relationship between then Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Diego Costa had broken down.
Costa was the key part of Chelsea squad under Jose Mourinho and in the first season of Conte. Costa was remarkably a noted figure in that Chelsea squad as Chelsea won two premier league titles in his three full-year spell at London. Replacing Costa was, of course, a very difficult task and Morata failed to do so.
Having seen Mitchy Batshuyai (another big money flop signed from Marseille) as not the part of his plans, Conte played Morata as the preferred striker throughout the entire season. When Maurizio Sarri took over the manager duty at Chelsea last summer,the Italian made clear Morata is his preferred striker, allowing Batshuyai to move out of loan again.
Sarri played Morata almost throughout the first half of the present season, but no improvements have found from the Spanian. Having lost the patience, Chelsea have been playing Eden Hazard as the false 9 recent days, with Pedro and Willian on the flanks.
The lack of striking power was clearly felt during the loss to Arsenal last night.
Morata scored 24 goals in 73 games in all competitions for Chelsea. it is pretty clear that Morata is pushing himself for a way out of Chelsea, with Atletico Madrid seems to be the likely destination. Having signed Nikola Kalinic just in the summer, Atletico Madrid are preparing to offload the Croatian in the January window. If the Kalinic move goes through, we can probably see Morata completing the Atletico move in this window, with the Spanian going as one of the costliest flops in Chelsea books.