The uncertainty over Alvaro Morata’s future led Chelsea scouts to take a short trip to Stevenage Road on the banks of the River Thames to watch the Serbia international. Their glowing reports catapulted the 23-year-old to the top of their wanted list.
Morata, 25, is increasingly viewed as expendable at Stamford Bridge as he struggles to find any semblance of form under the new regime at the club. When head coach Maurizio Sarri talked of a forty-goal a season striker, Morata’s name wasn’t anywhere near passing his lips.
Firebrand Mitrovic earned himself a reputation as an enfant terrible at Newcastle where he managed just 17 goals in 72 appearances. Six months on loan at Craven Cottage saw a return of 12 goals in 20 games last season followed by four goals in his first five matches this time around.
It won’t be a cheap solution if Fulham can be persuaded to sell. The Cottagers paid £22m – with a further £5m potentially payable in add-ons – to Newcastle during the summer to make the move permanent. Eyebrows were raised at the size of the fee but Fulham’s Serbian coach Slavisa Jokanovic, a former Chelsea midfielder, found a way to inspire his compatriot.
Now others are eyeing the striker lasciviously as their own transfer strategy crumbles.