Alvaro Morata, 23, must look enviously at the fuss being made of former Juventus team-mate, Paul Pogba, 23. The French midfielder has everything the Spanish striker desires when it comes to deciding his future: plenty of suitors.
It’s in danger of going wrong for Morata. Highly regarded at Juve, he was courted by Arsenal and Chelsea among others and seemed set for a move to the Premier League. The English clubs knew Real Madrid held a buy-back clause and expected the Spanish club to exercise that option before realising a substantial profit in a quick sale.
Instead, they have been left reeling by Madrid’s £57m valuation, more than double the €30m paid to Juventus. And both London clubs are prepared to walk away from the deal and turn their attentions elsewhere.
For Morata, these are frustrating times. He left the Bernabeu two years ago in search of regular first team football and now finds himself looking at a return to the bench. All he wanted, he recently claimed, was to feel important at a new club.
Now, he may find himself reduced to understudy for Karim Benzema, 28, although the Frenchman’s legal problems may see Morata promoted to the role of lead striker.
The lurid stories surrounding Benzema’s involvement in the blackmail of French team-mate, Mathieu Valbuena, 31, cost him a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad. With prosecutions under way, Benzema may yet find himself distracted during the coming season.
It’s not the first time Benzema has missed out on a major tournament through brushes with the law. He was omitted from France’s 2010 World Cup squad due to allegations of being involved with under-age prostitutes.
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