Manchester United’s surprise move for Romelu Lukaku has left Alvaro Morata in limbo.
The Real Madrid striker was convinced as late as Wednesday that he was days away from being a United player and that he would soon be on a plane on their tour of the USA next week.
But as United now close in on a £75m deal for Lukaku instead, Morata has been left surprised and stranded at Real.
Morata is now hoping that Chelsea will come back in for him and spend the money that they had intended to spend on Lukaku, before they were out-manoeuvred this week by United. If Morata were to end up at Stamford Bridge it would mark the eventual conclusion of a courtship that has lasted for years.
Antonio Conte has been a long-term admirer of Morata and hoped to sign him after arriving at Chelsea in 2016. Morata, too, has always wanted to play for Conte ever since his time at Juventus. Morata played for Max Allegri, but in a team built by Conte, whom all of his team-mates still revered.
But the contact between Chelsea and Morata had gone quiet recently as Chelsea targeted Lukaku instead. Morata had an offer from Milan but had been convinced by Jose Mourinho, who gave him his Real Madrid debut, to go to United. But United and Real Madrid could not agree a fee.
Therefore, United decided to turn their attention to Lukaku instead this week, and now Morata is left hoping that Conte will come back for him again