Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is hoping to bring Alvaro Morata to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid in the summer to replace Diego Costa, according to reports.
The Sun newspaper has claimed that Conte does not believe that Diego Costa has a long-term future at the club, and that the Italian coach views Morata as the ideal candidate to replace him.
Costa, 28, was left out of Chelsea's squad for the 3-0 win at Leicester City on 14 January after the Spain international had a row with a coach over his fitness.
Conte explained that the striker had complained of a back problem during the past week and added that he was unsure when the former Atletico Madrid player would return to action.
Reports claim that Costa is the subject of a lucrative offer from the Chinese Super League, worth £30m ($37m) a year.
According to The Sun, Conte convinced Juventus to sign Morata when he left the club in 2014 and would now like to work with the player at Chelsea.
The 24-year-old has struggled for playing time at Real Madrid, with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale ahead of him in the pecking order.
Conte reportedly believes Morata would be an ideal candidate to lead his 3-4-3 formation and feels he can turn him into a 20-goals-a-season striker.
Losing Costa in the January transfer window would be a major blow for the Blues, as the Spaniard has scored 14 goals in 19 league appearances for Chelsea this season.
"I have read a lot of speculation about this topic and I can tell you if there are problems – and I repeat 'if' – with players, I am used to solving them in the changing room, not outside, not in press conferences," Conte was quoted as saying by the Guardian when asked about Costa.
"I think that talking about this topic for the past five minutes is a bit of lack of respect for the other players and our performance.
"We must enjoy this victory. It wasn't easy to win against Leicester. It's important to respect our victory and our players after a good performance," he noted.