Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has confirmed that Antonio Conte tried to lure him to Chelsea during the summer transfer window in a deal which would have make him the most expensive Spanish footballer ever – surpassing the €58m (£49.7m, $64.7m) move of Fernando Torres' from Liverpool to Stamford Bridge in 2011.
The Spanish international striker became into one of the biggest names of the transfer window earlier in the summer, after it emerged that Real Madrid were ready to resign him from Juventus by activating a €30m buy-back clause, but only to automatically sell him to the Premier League for a profit.
Reports at the time said Chelsea and Arsenal were the two clubs battling for his services, as both Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger were desperately looking to strengthen their attacks with a new number nine.
Yet Morata's agent Juanma Lopez confirmed the 23-year-old had received offers from "top clubs in England" to move to the Premier League, with other sources claiming that Manchester United were also interested. Lest we forget, Jose Mourinho was the manager who handed the Spaniard his first-team debut at Real Madrid during his tenure in La Liga.
However, Zinedine Zidane eventually decided to keep the coveted striker in his ranks for the new campaign to back-up the BBC trio formed by Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Marca then reported that Los Blancos rejected a €60m offer from Chelsea which would have beaten the €58m they paid to Liverpool to secure Fernando Torres in 2011.
Now Morata has confirmed those reports during an interview with Sport Bild.
"Chelsea showed the most interest," Morata confirmed as quoted by ESPN. "Antonio Conte had already signed me for Juventus. And it was a very good offer this time. I would have been the most expensive Spanish player ever."
Morata then suggested he was ready to move to the Premier League because he didn't want to be a mere understudy at the Bernabeu. However, he now added: "They offered roughly (€70m but Real Madrid) said that they have me in their plans, and that was always a dream of mine."
Chelsea and Arsenal were then forced to turn their attentions elsewhere. Conte was desperately looking to sign a new number nine as Diego Costa's future at the club looked uncertain; the Blue striker had asked the Italian boss to let him to return to Atletico Madrid. However, as Conte failed to lure Morata from Real Madrid, he also blocked the departure of Costa, while also signing Michy Batshuayi from Marseille to serve as a back-up.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had also been linked with Morata since the forward's early days at Real Madrid. However, the Gunners signed instead Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna in a £17m deal in the dying days of the transfer window.