London, United Kingdom | AFP | Premier League champions Chelsea completed the signing of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata on a five-year-deal on Friday in a deal reported to be worth up to 80 million euros ($92.2 million).
“I am so happy to be here. It’s an incredible emotion to be part of this big club. I am looking to work hard, score as many goals as I can and to win as many trophies as possible,” the 24-year-old told Chelsea’s club website.
Morata put pen to paper with the London giants after undergoing a medical and he is now expected to link up with his new team-mates, who are preparing to play Arsenal in a pre-season friendly in Beijing on Saturday.
He could make his debut against Bayern Munich in Singapore next Tuesday.
Morata, who scored 20 goals in 43 appearances for Real last season on their way to the Champions League and Spanish title, also has nine goals in 20 appearances for Spain — including three at last year’s European Championship.
Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said Morata can make a huge impact domestically as well as in the Champions League.
“We are delighted to complete Alvaro’s signing and welcome him to the club. We believe he can make a great impact for Chelsea and look forward to seeing him in action,” said Emenalo.
“Alvaro has proven class at the highest level and his quality will be a huge asset to Antonio and the squad.”
Alvaro Morata is a Chelsea player!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 21, 2017
— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) July 21, 2017
Picture this! Pensive Neymar stirs renewed PSG fever
Neymar’s decision to post a photo of himself in thoughtful contemplation sparked a fresh wave of speculation that he is on the verge of sealing a world record 222-million-euro ($256.8 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Instagram picture, even accompanied by a matching emoji, shows the 25-year-old Brazilian superstar stretched out on the pitch with his chin resting on his left hand.
It garnered more than a million and a half ‘likes’ within 12 hours of it being posted in the United States where Barcelona are on a pre-season tour.
Three of the ‘likes’ came from PSG players — winger Angel Di Maria, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and midfielder Marco Verratti.
On Tuesday, PSG skipper — and fellow Brazilian — Thiago Silva gave a digital thumbs up to a mocked-up photo montage published by media company Esporte Interativo showing Neymar in a PSG shirt along with compatriots and prospective teammates in France.
Esporte Interativo used the montage to illustrate what they insist is an agreement reached for Neymar to move to the French capital from Barcelona where he has played since 2013.
Like Barcelona, PSG are also touring the United States where Neymar’s future has dominated conversation.
“I don’t know,” Thiago Silva told Le Parisien newspaper when asked if he knew whether the Brazilian star was about to come a PSG player.
“I hear a lot from journalists and a player like Neymar would be an interesting addition to the PSG project.
“But, for the moment, it is especially important to prepare for the new season. After and if Neymar arrives it would be a good thing for the squad.”
Is Neymar going to sign?
“Not yet,” smiled the captain.
– Deal ’95 percent complete’ –
In Spain, it was reported by Catalan media group RAC 1 that “certain players” at Barcelona have already tried to convince Neymar not to accept the PSG offer which would dwarf the 105 million euros Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba.
However, it’s believed the Brazilian is being seduced by the immense wealth on offer to him from the Qatari owners of PSG and by the opportunity to have a team built around him.
The daily Sport newspaper also claimed that Luis Suarez has also attempted to persuade Neymar not to split up the MSN frontline at Barcelona made up of Lionel Messi, Suarez and the Brazilian star.
Catalunya Radio said that the deal is “95 percent complete”.
One of the keys would be the payment to Neymar’s father and agent of a “premium exceeding the 40 million” paid when the player controversially moved to Spain from Santos.
Other reports have claimed that Neymar senior has recently met with, or is about to meet, PSG sporting director Antero Henrique.
However, Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre insisted Tuesday that it is “200 percent” certain that Neymar will stay at the club.
In a public game of tit-for-tat, PSG coach Unai Emery hailed the Brazilian.
“Neymar has advanced his game massively and today he is one of the five best in the world,” said Emery.
“Our president is working hard to attract top players and our fans would be content to count on a new top player to go along with the talent we already have.”
Neymar, meanwhile, will display his coveted skills for the first time this summer when Barcelona face Juventus in a pre-season friendly at East Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday.