Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata has given Chelsea fresh hope of securing his services ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign after admitting that he wants to work with Antonio Conte. The Spaniard also revealed that during the last summer transfer window he spoke with both the Italian boss and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino over a potential move to the Premier League before the La Liga giants opted to re-sign him from Juventus.
Morata, 24, was one of the main actors of the last summer transfer window after reports in Spain suggested that Real Madrid were ready to resign him from Juventus by activating a €30m (£25.4m, $31.9m) buy-back clause – but only to automatically sell him to the Premier League for a profit.
Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool were then linked with his services after the Spanish international had garnered a reputation as one of the most promising strikers around Europe during his two-season spell at Juventus.
However, Zinedine Zidane eventually opted to keep Morata at the Santiago Bernabeu following the departure of Jese Rodriguez to Paris Saint Germain.
Morata confirmed earlier in September that Conte tried then to lure him to Chelsea but he decided to stay in his childhood side with hope to become a regular for Zidane.
Yet, his long-term future at the Champions League winners is once again under scrutiny after the Spaniard has been restricted to a secondary role due to the unmovable presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in Zidane's attack.
Cadena Ser recently reported the Chelsea boss was ready to take advantage of the situation to secure his services in the coming window after identifying him as the perfect replacement for Diego Costa, who is expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Morata has now added more fuel to those speculations after admitting that he wants to work with Conte after the Italian was the one who recruited him for Juventus in the summer of 2014 – although they never worked together as the Chelsea boss resigned from his post with the Serie A giants just days later.
Asked during a long interview with The Guardian whether this summer he would consider a move to English football, he said: "I'm very happy at Madrid and they support me. But if an offer like that came again and they want to sell, I shouldn't close doors. I loved Italy but if one day I have to leave, I'm sure it will be to the Premier League."
And pressed about a potential move to work with the Chelsea boss after the Blues already offered €60m (£50.9m, $63.6m) to get him last summer, Morata added: "Conte is the manager who most 'bet' on me, without even ever having had me in his team. I'm very conscious of that: he bet on me for Juventus but left before I arrived; then he wanted me at Chelsea come what may. He knows me better than I could imagine, I'm sure, and that's important: it motivates you to work hard, train well.
"I feel indebted to him because he's the coach that most trusted in me, most wanted me, who made me feel I could perform at the highest level. And yet I've never had the fortune to actually work with him. I'm sure sooner or later I will. The future excites me, whether that's Madrid or somewhere else. I still have to learn, improve. I can do a lot but I need to play more and for someone to really back me. Either I take off or I end up in a position of comfort, playing games occasionally. I'm no longer the youngest, I'm 24, it's a big moment."
However Chelsea may face competition from other Premier League clubs as Morata revealed Tottenham manager Pochettino also tried to lure him to White Hart Lane during last summer's transfer window.
"Various Premier League coaches called to tell me to play for them. I said yeah, I'd like to, that if I had to leave I would almost certainly go to London, but that I didn't know what Madrid would do. I knew they'd bring me back but I didn't know if it was to keep me or sell me," the Real Madrid striker added. "I spoke directly to Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte, although the norm is clubs call my dad or agent. Madrid said they didn't want to sell, so here I am."