Why Chelsea should keep Morata next season

The Spaniard had a sub-par debut season for the Blues, prompting talk of a return to Juventus.


REUTERS/John Sibley

Alvaro Morata always represented a fairly risky signing. A Spaniard yet to play in a league as physical as the English top-flight and one yet to establish himself as a first choice striker at either Real Madrid or Juventus.

As a result, Morata had never scored more than 15 goals in one season, a feat he achieved for the first time last season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Morata was Antonio Conte’s signing and with the current Blues boss set to depart this summer, Chelsea could offload the 25-year-old to raise funds for a necessary squad overhaul. The Blues, though, would look to recoup most of the £60 million they paid Real Madrid for Morata in 2017.

With only Juventus currently interested in the striker -on a temporary basis, moreover-, should Chelsea be looking to give up so soon?

No room for error

Morata laboured to an 11-goal haul in 31 Premier League appearances this season, which simply isn’t good enough for a club of Chelsea’s stature looking to defend their title. Given owner Roman Abramovich’s propensity for change, Stamford Bridge isn’t an environment conducive to long setting in periods.

For this reason, therefore, Chelsea may look to part company with the Spaniard and replace him with someone more consistent in front of goal. However, should one poor season warrant a swift exit?

It’s worth remembering that Morata got off to a perfect start in West London, scoring six goals in his first six games, though a sudden dip in form resulted in a loss of confidence, from which the striker never recovered. The January arrival of former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, furthermore, made matters worse and showed Morata that he wasn’t trusted.

Confidence creates a different beast

Six goals in his first six games is an impressive achievement for someone adapting to the rigours of the Premier League. It’s a testament to his quality to succeed in England. For Morata to succeed, it’s obvious that he needs a manager that trusts him and, consequently, fills him with confidence.

Signing Giroud didn’t help matters and relegated Morata to the bench for a run of five games. Those games came during a time in which the Spaniard was simultaneously suffering from an 11-game Premier League goal drought, failing to score from December 26th to April 8th.

The striker was full of confidence during his two-year spell at Juventus, scoring 27 goals in 93 matches. The next Blues boss needs to help rekindle those performances.

Moreover, Morata suffered from a back injury midway through the season -an injury, Morata admits, that left him needing a break- and never truly recovered. With a full pre-season under his belt, confidence and injury-free, Morata will be a different player.

RealSport verdict: Keep

From Morata’s perspective, the easy option would be to move to Juventus should an offer materialise. Serie A is comparatively easier for a physical striker to play in and it’s an opportunity to reunite with a coach that values his ability.

However, he can succeed in England. He’s athletic and physical, atypical attributes for a Spaniard, epitomised by the fact that he scored seven of his 11 goals were headers. He needs a manager that trusts him and inspires confidence.

Morata is well-suited to English football and his record at the beginning of the season demonstrates that he indeed has the ability to succeed. Moreover, who would Chelsea replace him with? They’d have to spend money on another potentially risky signing, or stick with Giroud and the returning Michy Batshuayi.

The risk for Chelsea, therefore, is potentially watching Morata’s value depreciate further should he have another poor season.

Is it a risk worth taking? Let us know in the comments section below.



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Oli Stein

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Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016.

Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent.

Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_

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