Chelsea were dealt a blow in their preparations for the new season when Romelu Lukaku moved to Manchester United. There were many in the game that expected the Belgian to return to Stamford Bridge, but he has ended up joining up with his former Blues’ manager at Old Trafford. Antonio Conte would have been frustrated by losing out on his number one target, but they have recovered quickly and are now moving closer to signing a new striker. They have agreed a deal with Real Madrid for Alvaro Morata and the Spaniard will sign subject to personal terms and a medical. Although he may not have been their primary target, he possesses a good pedigree and plays a style that will suit the Blues.
Morata was mainly used as a substitute after returning to the Bernabeu last season and he will be eager to play a more significant role at Stamford Bridge. His goal record was impressive for Real, as he scored 15 goals in La Liga and was a good option to use from the bench. The 24-year-old scored a goal every 89.4 minutes, which is an incredible strike rate to have. To provide context, Diego Costa scored one every 154.15 minutes and Lukaku struck every 130.6 minutes for Everton.
Admittedly, Morata was playing in a weaker league and for the best team in Europe, but it can be difficult to find your form when being used sparingly. His strike rate shows that he managed to focus on his task and carry out his role well, despite playing only a supporting role. The striker’s finishing stood out as he scored all different types of goal. His mobility and work rate will allow him to thrive in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3. The Blues will be hoping that he can offer the main goal threat and take the chances that come his way. Based on his form in front of goal last season, it is safe to suggest that he will find the back of the net frequently at Chelsea, based on the service that should be provided for him.
The 24-year-old is full of running and he has a point to prove. There are many that doubt he can be a top tier European striker after failing to be the figurehead at either Real Madrid or Juventus and this will be his chance to prove that he can thrive at the highest level. Chelsea are paying a significant price to bring him to the Premier League and there will be pressure on him to perform. There will be a lot of comparisons between Morata and Lukaku this season. It is up to the Spaniard to score the goals to help the Blues retain their title and if he does that, he will show that he is a top tier striker.
In terms of link-up play, Morata offers a lot more than Lukaku and it could be that part of his game that allows him to thrive at Chelsea. The Blues already have a lot of goals in their attack and Morata will help bring the best out of the players around him. He reads the game well and can cut a defence open with a through ball, which is a skill not possessed by all strikers. In a counter-attacking team, the 24-year-old’s ability to carry the ball forward at pace is important and Conte will be looking for him to do that regularly this season.
Supporters will have been more excited had the club managed to land Lukaku or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but that isn’t to say Morata won’t be a good signing for the club. He has a playing style that should suit Chelsea and it is another example of Conte targeting a player that fits his system. His strike rate has always been impressive, but he has never been the main striker at either Real or Juventus. This is his chance to become one of Europe’s best and he will need to hit the ground running to prove the doubters wrong.