Alvaro Morata’s Chelsea nightmare is over after agreeing to join Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of next season.
Morata joined the Blues in 2017 for a reported £58million from Real Madrid and initially looked to have settled well, scoring 10 times in the first half of his debut Premier League campaign.
But he netted just once more for the rest of 2017-18, as injuries and poor form severely disrupted his impact.
Maurizio Sarri opted to keep Morata after joining from Napoli, but the Spain international struggled again this season, scoring five times in 16 Premier League outings.
After Morata and Olivier Giroud shared Chelsea strike duties in the early weeks of 2018-19, Sarri has preferred to use Eden Hazard in a false nine role of late.
Last week’s signing of Gonzalo Higuain on a loan deal from Morata’s former club Juventus pushed the Spaniard, who was not selected for the World Cup, down the pecking order.
Agreement with @ChelseaFC over the loan of @AlvaroMorata for the remainder of the current season and the next one.
FULL STORY https://t.co/KiMEnruwJk#AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/vHYMUSv3Vp
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 28, 2019
Sarri confirmed Morata had asked to leave the club and the 26-year-old has got his wish.
“I’m very happy and proud to be here. I can’t wait to start training, meet my new team-mates and play,” Morata said.
Sarri has suggested Morata’s problems are mental, and the striker will hope being back in familiar surroundings aids his cause.
Although a former Real Madrid player as a professional, Morata was first on the books of Atletico as a kid.
His signing should take some of the pressure off Antoine Griezmann as their main goalscorer following injury to Diego Costa.
Morata’s arrival will likely pave the way for Nikola Kalinic to leave, despite only joining in August.