Having wrapped up the Serie A title with weeks to spare, the Coppa Italia final on May 21 is the only remaining fixture of any importance to Juventus. As a result, thoughts have already turned to what this summer's transfer market may hold for the Turin giants as they look to improve further still.
Given last year saw the squad overhauled, the club is likely to seek some stability ahead of the 2016/17 campaign and certainly has the financial solidity that will enable them to do just that.
However, one player whose destiny remains undetermined is Alvaro Morata, with the deal that brought him from Real Madrid in July 2014 containing a buy-back clause. According to Juve's official website, the Spanish side can exercise that option at the end of this season or next for a fee of up to €30 million.
Having invested an initial €20 million in Morata, the Bianconeri have overseen a dramatic increase in the player's output and reputation, and he has become vital to the tactical approach of Massimiliano Allegri.
The Juventus coach has utilised the pace of the 23-year-old striker to great effect, particularly in the UEFA Champions League. Indeed, while the physicality of Mario Mandzukic and even Simone Zaza might be better suited to Serie A, Morata has been simply sensational in continental action over the past two seasons.
Last year saw him net in both legs of the semi-final clash against his former side and the final as Juve lost to Barcelona, with goals this term seeing him match the iconic Alessandro Del Piero's club record of scoring in five consecutive outings in Europe's elite club competition.
Morata's return of 15 goals in his 62 Serie A appearances to date is distinctly average, but his impact in the Champions League has been vital to the club's return to prominence. Weighing in with two goals and two assists in just 534 minutes of action this term, the man himself has publicly stated his desire to remain in Italy.
“I would like to stay at Juventus for many more years, I would really love that a lot,” Morata told reporters at a press conference in late March. “I can only say it feels like home in Turin, but it's not only my decision to make.”
Having watched the striker return to his best in recent weeks, Juventus clearly share that view, as director general Beppe Marotta explained in an interview with Sport Mediaset (h/t Football Espana) before the recent win over Carpi:
The will of the player is crucial. Alvaro is appreciated by us, he’s closely linked to the club and his desire is to stay, although Real Madrid have done everything to convince him. In any case, we’ll rely on his will.
Morata’s situation not only depends on us. We want to him to stay and we’ll try to speak with Real Madrid as soon as possible. Morata’s future is linked to what Madrid will do as they’re currently fighting for the Spanish League and Champions League.
5 - Prior to Alvaro Morata, the only Juventus player able to score in five consecutive UCL appearances was Alessandro Del Piero. Graduation.2015-9-30 19:52:37
While the promise of a return to his hometown club is sure to make Morata at least consider any such proposal, it is no surprise to learn La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) believes the Bianconeri will offer around €25 million to negate the contract clause.
The core of Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro represents a bright future for Juventus, a future Morata could be a major factor in if Juventus prevent Real Madrid from luring him back to Spain.