Catalan newspaper Sport have decided to really start stirring things.
On Sunday, Madrid based AS claimed Antonio Conte has asked Chelsea for both Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez. In their report AS said that Morata looked closer to Manchester United, but James could be a real possibility at €70-80m.
Sport twist the situation slightly, and claim Chelsea could be set to gazump Manchester United for Morata. A proposal of €70m from Old Trafford ‘does not satisfy’ Real Madrid, according to Sport, so Conte has nudged Roman Abramovich to try and get both players.
According to the Catalan newspaper, Chelsea would offer €75m for Morata, and €80m for James, which is pretty much dream-come-true territory for Real Madrid. In that sense it doesn’t make sense for Sport, probably the most Madrid hating of the Catalan sport papers, to push such a line.
There’s every chance it’s been grasped from thin air, and Sport’s motivation could be nothing more than adding some drama to the situation.
Or, maybe, they’re setting the price bar unrealistically high for Real Madrid, so if they sell Morata and James for less than a combined €155m it can be deemed as failure.
But do Manchester United need to worry about Chelsea making a Morata move? Jose Mourinho will hope not.
Last summer Chelsea took concrete steps to sign the player, confirmed by Morata himself. The 24 year old has spoken well of Conte, explaining it was the Italian who showed the faith to encourage Juventus’ move, and a switch to the Premier League champions, in London, has got to be tempting.
But Chelsea seem to have moved on to Romelu Lukaku, whether that’s Conte’s doing or not.