Chelsea coach Antonio Conte believes Alvaro Morata has the quality to become a “fantastic striker” and hopes to help him improve, just as Mauricio Pochettino has helped Harry Kane become a star player in the Premier League.
Morata, who signed with Chelsea from Real Madrid this summer, is in line to make his first start for the Blues on Sunday evening when they meet Spurs at Wembley Stadium. The 24-year-old had an impressive cameo in the 3-2 defeat to Burnley, contributing a goal and an assist in their league opener.
Conte had targeted Morata for over a year before signing him for Chelsea, and he thinks that the Blues got a good price to bring in the forward from Madrid.
“How much money we paid for Morata? Maybe £56 million could be a good price for Morata and for this transfer market,” said Conte at a press conference at Cobham Training Centre. “If you remember, Morata didn’t play regularly with Real Madrid last season because he was behind [Karim] Benzema.
“Usually when you don’t play regularly you lose sometimes your performance, sometimes your quality in your physical condition. You need a bit of time to recover this. We want Morata to play regularly for Chelsea. My choices don’t depend on the cost of money.
“We can spend a lot of money for one player and then I put him on the bench, because I’m seeing this player is not ready to play. There is not a relation to see him start a game.”
The summer transfer window in 2017 has seen some of the biggest deals of all-time with Neymar more than doubling the transfer record in his €222m deal to take him from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona have since had a €125m bid rejected to replace him with Phillipe Coutinho from Liverpool.
Chelsea have struggled to find value in the market and bring in talent. Despite this, Conte has reiterated his commitment to Chelsea and hopes that he and Morata can forge an impressive working relationship for many years.
“Morata is ready to start the game, yes. For sure,” Conte said. “I repeat he needs to improve his physical condition and he needs a bit of time to reach the top, but he’s in contention for the game.
“I’m sure about this. Morata is a young player. He can stay in this club for many years to become a fantastic striker for this club. Recently I was only told that I have admiration for Kane, for this player, but I think it’s normal. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like my players.
“I can show admiration for another player. My only intention was to underline the great job Pochettino is doing. Harry Kane wasn’t a great player before, and now his is.”