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Alvaro Morata will bring an end to a three-year wait to work with former boss Antonio Conte by signing for Chelsea.
The Spaniard has traveled to London to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical after the Premier League champions agreed an initial club-record £58 million fee, which fee could rise to £70m with add-ons, with Real Madrid for the 24-year-old.
It was the Italian boss who signed him for Juventus in 2014, but he resigned and took the Italian national team job before the duo could work together. Conte then tried to lure to Chelsea last summer, but the reigning European Champions opted to exercise their buy-back clause and keep the player at the Bernabeu.
As Morata left Real’s pre-season tour in America to fly to England to complete a move to the west London club, he said: “I’m going to the team managed by the coach who has placed the most faith in me and that’s great for me. I’m very happy.”
In April, Morata revealed the impact the Blues’ manager had made on him by saying: “Conte is the manager who most ‘bet’ on me, without even ever having had me in his team.
“I’m very conscious of that. He bet on me for Juventus but left before I arrived, then he wanted me at Chelsea come what may. He knows me better than I could imagine, I’m sure, and that’s important. It motivates you to work hard, train well.
“I feel indebted to him because he’s the coach that most trusted in me, most wanted me, who made me feel I could perform at the highest level. And yet I’ve never had the fortune to actually work with him. I’m sure sooner or later I will.”
On the fact he almost joined Conte’s side last summer, the Spaniard added: “Various Premier League coaches called to tell me to play for them. I said yeah, I’d like to, that if I had to leave I would almost certainly go to London, but that I didn’t know what Madrid would do. I knew they’d bring me back, but I didn’t know if it was to keep me or sell me.
“I spoke directly to Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte, although the norm is clubs call my dad or agent. Madrid said they didn’t want to sell. I remember talking to my dad then and him saying ‘This guy (Conte) is going to win the League there (in England).”
Real Madrid paid tribute to him ahead of his switch to Chelsea by releasing a statement on their official website that read: “Real Madrid C. F. and Chelsea FC have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of Álvaro Morata, subject to the player completing his medical.
“The club wishes to express its thanks for the dedication, professionalism and exemplary conduct displayed by the player over the years, spanning his time in our academy right through to his spell as a member of the first-team squad.”