Koke Says Alvaro Morata Would Be 'Welcome' at Atletico Amid Chelsea Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 27: Alvaro Morata (r) of Chelsea FC is followed by Jorge Resurreccion Merodio, Koke, of Atletico de Madrid during the UEFA Champions League 2017-18 match between Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea FC at the Wanda Metropolitano on 27 September 2017, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has praised Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata and has said his Spain international team-mate would be "welcome" in the Spanish capital.

According to Goal, Atletico are interested in taking Morata on loan for the remainder of the season, as he has struggled to make an impression this term at Stamford Bridge under Maurizio Sarri. It's said Sevilla are also admirers of the former Real Madrid and Juventus man.

Speaking about Morata, Koke said he would love to see him at the Wanda Metropolitano and thinks he still has plenty to offer, per Ainhoa Sanchez of Marca:

"Morata is a great player, I've always said that. I played with him in the Atletico academy and then circumstances changed [Morata went to Getafe for one year before joining Real Madrid's youth setup].

"It is true that I've heard this rumour, but he is not our player; he is Chelsea's, and we have to respect them. Right now, we are the players who are here, and we shouldn't be thinking about players from elsewhere. If he comes, he will be welcome."

As Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws relayed, there have been a number of clubs linked with the Spain star:

Morata arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2017 for what was then a club-record fee. Initially, it appeared he would make a big impact with the Blues, as he took to life in the Premier League with ease.

However, some injury issues and a loss of form knocked his development off course. He's been unable to recover his best, and despite some patches of goalscoring, Morata has looked devoid of any confidence in front of goal.

According to Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea are now ready to let Morata move on and will look to sign Gonzalo Higuain for the remainder of the campaign.

Sarri has said the only way Morata will be allowed to move on is if the Blues line up a replacement:

The Spaniard does look in need of a fresh start somewhere else. He may have got on the scoresheet twice in the FA Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest, but all the headlines centred around a glaring miss from the 26-year-old.

Amadi Tidiane of Copa90 thinks the skewed effort encapsulates Morata perfectly:

Atletico would potentially be an ideal move for the striker. Not only is Morata familiar with the Spanish capital, the potential is there in theory for him to form a fine partnership with Antoine Griezmann at the point of the attack.

Atletico would also benefit from another forward, as they seek to challenge for La Liga and the UEFA Champions League in 2019. Diego Costa has struggled this season and is sidelined due to injury at the moment, while Nikola Kalinic has been a huge disappointment since his move to the Wanda from AC Milan.  

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