Chelsea, despite winning the Premier League in 2017, were baffled to see their prime transfer targets reject a switch to Stamford Bridge since last summer and the trend has not stopped this term in spite of their managerial alteration having missed out on a Champions League berth under the former Juventus and Azzurri gaffer, Antonio Conte.
The dismissal of Italian boss has paved the way for Maurizio Sarri, the ex-Napoli boss who accepted the challenge of regrouping the Blues and made an immediate impact by hijacking a deal for Jorginho under the nose of Manchester City chief Pep Guardiola. The jubilation of a reunion with former Napoli star seems not to be enduring enough amid the increasing uncertainty over the signing of Juventus’ marksman Gonzalo Higuain which might force the gaffer to continue with first-season flop Alvaro Morata as the club’s first-choice ‘number 9’.
The 25-year-old Spaniard completed a £58m switch from Real Madrid last summer and despite a bright start to his Premier League career, Morata faded away too soon and lost his starting slot in the later months. The Blues, meanwhile, have slapped a price tag of £62m amid interest from AC Milan who are struggling to meet such a hefty asking fee as well as his high wage demands.
The once-esteemed Serie A giants are also keeping close tabs on Higuain, the 30-year-old Argentine, valued at around £54m but is also on Sarri’s radar whom he managed while at Napoli before leaving for the Old Lady on a big-money transfer.
Higuain, as per reports, is preferring to leave for the San Siro over Stamford Bridge and the Chelsea management, too, are rumoured to be reluctant to invest so heavily on an ageing centre-forward. The scarcity of renowned and experienced goalscorers in the summer market might see them bank on Morata once again who registered only 15 goals in 48 appearances last term for the London giants.
His unimpressive run has cost him a place in Spain’s World Cup squad but the former Real Madrid and Juventus star is now entirely focusing on a revival of his stalled career to justify the hype he had during his spell with his previous clubs.
The Blues also have Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi upfront as striking options but none of them is going to make it as a preferred ‘number 9’ all season. The search for a marquee name is still on, but the growing frustration over Higuain’s unresolved next move might force new Chelsea chief Maurizio Sarri to shift to a Plan B counting on Morata for one more season.
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