There’s an interesting piece in The Guardian today from Sid Lowe on Real Madrid’s Álvaro Morata. The 24-year old Spanish forward and academy product returned to Madrid this summer after a highly successful two year stint in Juventus when the club activated a buy-back clause in his contract. At the time, he was attracting attention from a whole host of top European clubs, and was considering his future, should Juventus plan to cash in on his success
But that’s not the really interesting part, if you’re a Spurs fan. In the article, Morata admits that in the lead-up to his transfer back to Madrid, he had talked to and consulted with a number of Premier League football managers who all tried to convince him to come to England. One of those managers was Mauricio Pochettino.
Many of the calls came from England. “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, so here I am.” Chelsea had offered €60m and Conte made a particular impression. “I remember talking to my dad then and him saying: ‘This guy’s going to win the league there,’” Morata says. His dad was right.
— Sid Lowe, The Guardian
This clearly was one of those long-shot “give him a call and see what he says” kind of situations for Poch. From Morata’s comments, it’s clear that Chelsea would’ve been a very attractive destination for Morata, were he to have moved. I don’t think Spurs would have had the financial clout to get him to White Hart Lane
It’s interesting though, that of the two managers mentioned as having personal contact with Morata (as opposed to through his manager), Pochettino is one of them. You can read into that all you want, but it does imply that Poch is well respected as a manager — if you’re Álvaro Morata, I don’t think you take that call unless you’re genuinely interested in what that manager has to say.
This isn’t really a transfer rumor. The Lowe piece is basically a profile story detailing how Morata got from where he was to where he is now. However, he was asked about his future at Madrid, and whether he would entertain a move back to the Premier League.
So, what if the phone goes again, the Premier League on the line? If Chelsea call back? If the season ends with no sign of change will he say he needs to go? “I can say that, but …” he starts. He knows they may not listen. “I’m very happy at Madrid and they support me,” he says. “But if an offer like that came again and they want to sell, I shouldn’t close doors. I loved Italy but if one day I have to leave, I’m sure it will be to the Premier League.”
Spurs aren’t going to sign Álvaro Morata. Should he one day transition to the Premier League, his destination is almost certainly going to be club like Chelsea or Manchester City. However, this does indicate that Tottenham and Pochettino are trying to swing for the fences by going after some high profile players. Maybe some day, as the club’s profile rises and Spurs continue to be successful, they’ll connect.