Real Madrid didn’t have to sell Alvaro Morata this summer.

Sure, there’s player power and everything like that, but Real Madrid had the striker on a long contract and had already knocked back Manchester United, they simply didn’t have to then entertain Chelsea.

A quick explanation of ‘Alvaro, we were willing to help, but we couldn’t find a replacement. You’re on a long contract, you’re increasingly important, and the World Cup in next summer, get your head down’ could have worked.

Had that been too easy, simply making sure a transfer didn’t happen by whatever means possible (something Madrid should have learned from Ed Woodward) would have been better than selling.

Even as the long process of Alvaro Morata being sold was going on, it was widely accepted in Spain to be a negative for Real Madrid. Sure, a big transfer fee would be on the way, but how much would it cost to replace Morata, even if possible?

Morata scored 18 goals, in La Liga and the Champions League, last season, so Madrid would have a sizeable gap.

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There was an expectation that Karim Benzema, who scored less than Morata, would have a better season but he’s not found the back of the net yet in La Liga, and is now injured.

Out for a month to six weeks, there’s every chance Benzema could enter November without a goal. Meanwhile, Morata has three goals and two assists in four Premier League appearances. It’s all gone wrong.

With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended, and Gareth Bale still not at his best, it adds to the worry. But it’s Benzema who Morata would be most used instead of, the more direct replacement.

Then there was the sale of Mariano to Lyon, with the 24 year old striker already scoring four goals.

The doubt was there before the Chelsea transfer happened, and is now growing. In the Madrid media it’s a biting-fingernails worry, whereas the Catalan media think it’s increasingly hilarious.

Marca’s Monday back-page reads ‘Real Madrid need a Morata’. They had one, and probably let him go too easily.