Alvaro Morata has revealed he thought he was destined never to sign for Chelsea until he held a decisive conversation with Antonio Conte this summer.
The Spain international has made an impressive start to his task of filling the shoes of the exiled Diego Costa, scoring three times in the Premier League already.
It could have been a very different story, however, for the 24-year-old who had been strongly linked with a move to Manchester Untied earlier in the transfer window, only for Jose Mourinho to switch his sights to Romelu Lukaku.
Morata admitted he was under the impression that the Belgium international would be headed for Stamford Bridge but explained that Conte played a crucial role in ensuring he signed for the Premier League champions, while Lukaku ultimately ending up at Old Trafford.
‘Yes. I had various offers this summer, not only Chelsea and Manchester United but also from different leagues,’ Morata told the Daily Mail.
‘It was a good situation for me. The most important and best conversation I had was with Conte, he wanted me to come here. At the start of the summer, I didn’t know that Chelsea were interested in me. I thought they were in for a different player.
‘Maybe Lukaku or maybe someone else, I don’t know. I didn’t think the option of Chelsea was open.
‘But I spoke with Conte several times – and not only this summer. I felt in debt to him. He signed me for Juventus but left very quickly to manage Italy. I always wanted to play for him after that.
It was only two months with him but it felt like I’d known him forever. When I knew he wanted me this summer, I didn’t think twice. I did everything I could to make the move happen.
‘Last summer it was close. Cesar Azpilicueta was a bit annoyed because he had already started house-hunting for me last summer. We’d even got estate agents on board. This time Cesar has sorted everything!
‘When I spoke to Conte last summer, I said “If I’m going to leave Real Madrid, it will only be for Chelsea”. I remember I was with my wife after hearing him out conversation and I said “Chelsea are going to win the league this season.” And that’s exactly what happened. Now we need to repeat it!’