Barcelona could offer Alvaro Morata a surprise end to his Chelsea nightmare.
Spain striker Morata’s agents are trying to get him away from Stamford Bridge after 18 largely ineffective months — and intermediaries have been in touch with La Liga giants Barca about a possible January deal.
The Spanish champions need cover for Luis Suarez. The former Liverpool frontman is having stem-cell treatment to try to cure a knee problem, and there are doubts over his availability for the remainder of the season.
Former back-up Paco Alcacer has been sold to Borussia Dortmund, and current reserve Munir has proved ineffective so far.
A loan move for Morata for the rest of the season is the most likely option, with the possibility of a permanent deal in the summer. The 26-year-old wants regular football, with his move to Chelsea having turned sour.
Morata, signed from Barca’s bitter rivals Real Madrid for £65million when Antonio Conte was still Blues boss, is no longer able to hold down a regular place under successor Maurizio Sarri.
He has struggled with the physicality of the English game, and his confidence has dipped. Sarri has preferred to use Olivier Giroud in recent games.
Chelsea will want to get their money back on Morata, but Sarri, after a relatively low spend by the club’s standards last summer, wants to move players on to make room for new signings.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani is a player that the Chelsea coach admires, but the potential £40m fee for a 31 year old is unlikely to see that deal go ahead.
Chelsea are also interested in Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi – but the £97m escape clause in his contract would be even more of a problem.
The highly-rated Krzysztof Piatek of Genoa though, who cost the Italian club only £3.5m when they signed him from Cracovia this year, would be a much cheaper option. Lyon’s Nabil Fekir is yet another player that has been monitored.
Morata has also been linked with a move to AC Milan, but that would probably only happen in the summer when Gonzalo Higuain ends his loan spell.