Alvaro Morata by no means actually arrived at Chelsea. Probably not. Even now, when he is nonetheless a member of the squad, albeit an inactive and estranged one in search of a transfer, he is probably not right here. As a result of he by no means truly arrived.
No, the actual Alvaro Morata is caught in limbo someplace between the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez and Turin-Caselle airports. Certain, there have been claimed sightings of him scoring a hat-trick on April fifth 2017 at Leganes, or on September 23rd of the identical 12 months in Stoke-on-Trent, even stories of an important equaliser in Madrid itself 4 days later.
However these had been all subsequently disproved. No, many consider the final true citing of Morata to be in France in the summertime of 2016, the place he attended the UEFA European Championship with Spain.
In that event, the striker was chosen forward of Blues marksman Diego Costa, and confirmed why. He seemingly possessed sufficient of the signature tenacity and power of Costa, with a bit extra nouse. A bit extra ability. A bit extra…sophistication.
He was domineering within the air, technical on the ball, and hungry for targets. Although La Roja’s marketing campaign was ended prematurely by Antonio Conte’s Italy facet within the final 16, it was nonetheless sufficient to persuade the soon-to-be Chelsea supervisor that Morata was the best candidate to switch his want-away compatriot at Stamford Bridge a 12 months later.
Properly, truly the half the place Conte needed him is cloudy at greatest, however even when we assume this was the case, the Italian nonetheless did not get what he bargained for.
For all intents and functions, the ditching of Costa for Morata at a web spend of round £3m was a no brainer. It was nice enterprise.
Why would you not usher in a 24-year-old who has already usurped your unsettled and ageing ahead within the nationwide pecking line, and at such an insignificant outlay? There’s actually nothing improper with it. No draw back. It makes an excessive amount of sense.
All of the packing containers had been ticked. Might he reduce it on a moist and windy Wednesday night time in Stoke? Properly he was positively nice when he took on these situations on a Tuesday night time in Manchester in September 2015, so why the hell not?
In so some ways, that Champions League group stage efficiency in opposition to Manchester Metropolis on the Etihad represented all the pieces Chelsea followers thought they had been getting when the membership signed Morata.
Now, wanting again on it, there are greater than a pair moments that portend to they imposter they really obtained; the petulance, the pointless flops (I’d say dive, however ‘flop’ simply describes it so significantly better), the mis-control and many others.
BUT. Crucially, it primarily confirmed a never-say-die perspective, a youthful exuberance, a daunting tempo and an professional ending skill. The profitable purpose stays one among my favourites from the final decade. For no matter cause, from the primary second I watched it, it resonated with me in a surprisingly deep method.
Whether or not it was the lashing rain, the peerlessly groomed nature of the Spaniard’s head/beard, the beguiling approach or the knee slide to complete, it was merely magnificent. Upon additional rewatching, I believe it is truly the slo-mo pan from behind simply as he strikes it. The place he sidesteps in tandem with the digital camera as he watches it curl previous an outstretched Joe Hart in purpose. It is aesthetic heaven.
However we had been by no means given such superb highs in west London. We had been often given the tempo, and we got numerous the aerial prowess, however by no means the starvation, and really, very hardly ever the composure and approach.
The membership have had a wierd relationship with strikers ever for the reason that days of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Certain, they’ve admittedly had their best ever frontman, in Didier Drogba, throughout this era, however take into consideration Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Loic Remy, Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Bertrand Traore, Samuel Eto’o, Alexandre Pato, Radamel Falcao and many others and many others.
What a surreal group of names that’s. What a wierd distinction of huge cash flops and low-expense fillers. And Morata suits proper in there alongside Torres, Crespo, Shevchenko and Lukaku. Extremely rated additions who may by no means fulfil their expectations.
And but, someway, the next stat is totally true: Alvaro Morata has another purpose than Didier Drogba had at this second in his Chelsea profession. Let that sink in.
Now, Drogba’s redemptive profession arc has been effectively documented, and there have been perpetual rumours of him leaving London all through his tenure. Such a comparability may normally provoke requires endurance, however why would not that appear relevant right here?
Properly, for one factor, the membership had a depth up entrance that’s unimaginable now, however extra presciently, Drogba displayed want all via his dips, and had his greatest moments on the large event (shock). He scored 5 targets in 9 Champions League video games in his first season, together with two targets and an help within the astoundingly top quality quarter remaining tie with Bayern Munich.
Morata has proven nearly none of that in his tenure. How may he? Similar to Joaquin Phoenix in Lynne Ramsay’s newest movie, he was by no means actually right here.