For much of the summer, the destination of the two best strikers on the market seemed a foregone conclusion. All reports claimed that Romelu Lukaku favored a return to his old club Chelsea while Manchester United were growing closer every day to signing Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
However, recent news has thrown a spanner into the works. Earlier this week it was revealed that Manchester United have agreed on a £75 million fee with Everton for Lukaku. Which has caused a ripple effect through the transfer market that will effect several big clubs.
The real winners in this situation are Manchester United. They had reportedly been frustrated by Real Madrid’s demands of a massive fee for Morata. With Jose Mourinho instead opting to sign the player he once sold while at Chelsea, United get a striker proven in the Premier League and possibly for less than they would have paid for Morata.
While that’s all great for United, many clubs are currently in limbo. Chelsea thought that their deal to sign Lukaku was all but done, and have been absolutely caught with their pants down. With Lukaku out of the picture, it would seem to open the door for Morata to sign for Chelsea. Antonio Conte managed him at Juventus and has spoken favorably of him. However, as Manchester United found out, negotiating with Real Madrid is never easy. Especially since Chelsea have now lost all their leverage.
Antonio Conte may come to regret that text he sent to Diego Costa telling him that he had no future with the team. Unless Chelsea act quickly on Morata they may have to accept the fact that Costa is their only option. Costa is without a doubt a quality player, but he seems to have worn out his welcome with both his teammates and coaches.
If Costa were forced to stay in London, the ripples would be felt in Madrid. His old club, Atletico Madrid, have confirmed they are interested in resigning him this season. Costa has also said that Atletico are the only club that he would consider signing for. Until now, it seemed to line up perfectly, Atletico get their commanding striker back and Chelsea offload him for a decent fee.
With Atletico Madrid banned from registering any new players until January, they would be hard pressed to find anyone of Costa’s ability willing to sign for them. Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres are both fine players, but neither have the power and instincts of Costa.
Perhaps the biggest loser in all of this is Alvaro Morata. Just a week ago he was set to become the focal point of Jose Mourinho’s attack at Manchester United and take over for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now he has been blindsided by the club’s interest in another player.
Everything would end up okay if Morata finds a new home at Chelsea, but if not he may be in for quite a long season. The reason he wanted to leave in the first place was to get first team opportunities, if nothing pans out he may spend another season watching Real Madrid win from the bench.