Sevilla have pulled out of the race to sign Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata in January, leaving Atletico Madrid as the favourites for his signature.
As reported by Goal, the former Juventus and Real Madrid man spent the weekend in the Spanish capital trying to negotiate a transfer. Sevilla were believed most likely to acquire him, but the Andalusians have now said they won't chase him any longer as the finances involved make a deal "impossible."
Director of Football Joaquin Caparros faced the press Monday, presenting new signing Munir El Haddadi from Barcelona and answering questions on Morata: "Sevilla is a desirable team for any footballer and Morata wanted to come here, but when we started talking about costs, we realised that it was impossible."
He previously told club media (h/t Football Espana) Morata was eager to join but a deal would be complicated.
Morata has been linked with a number of top clubs around the continent, with both Bayern Munich and Barcelona reportedly eyeing a loan:
Atletico appear the clear favourites at this point, however, and midfielder Koke has already said he would be welcome at the club, per Ainhoa Sanchez of Marca.
The 26-year-old has played for the Rojiblancos before as part of their youth setup. He also had a stint with Getafe before joining Real, where he blossomed into a promising prospect.
A stint at Juventus saw him emerge as a genuine force in attack, but he has struggled since leaving the Old Lady. A return to Real didn't yield many minutes, and he has now seemingly worn out his welcome with the Blues.
A move to Atletico would make a lot of sense from a tactical perspective. Morata played his best football as part of a strike tandem alongside Carlos Tevez at Juventus. The Rojiblancos use a similar system, pairing Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann.
Morata's ability to create and set up team-mates should play well alongside a gifted scorer like Griezmann, and the Frenchman would be able to mask his new team-mate's occasional scoring issues.
The finances involved in such a transfer could prove tricky, however. According to Goal, Atletico need to free up space in their own wage structure before they add Morata, and they're not willing to take on his full wages. Chelsea are looking to offload his wages completely and want a buy-option inserted into the deal.
Per the report, Chelsea will not part with Morata unless they can find an adequate replacement. Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain, who is currently on loan at AC Milan, appears the favourite to make a January switch to Stamford Bridge.