The Red Devils have been the frontrunners to obtain Morata’s signature, especially with the £65 million deal that was close to completion last week.
But with Chelsea’s rising interest in the striker, and given the history between the Spaniard and current Blues manager Antonio Conte, who brought the player to Juventus in 2016, Mourinho now has a cause for concern, as he continues to looks for a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Morata is set to leave Los Blancos this summer, after struggling to get playtime, having started only 14 La Liga games for the Spanish giants last season.
In an interview that took place in April, the Spanish international had made it clear that he would one day like to play for Conte.
The 24-year-old told the Guardian in April: “Various Premier League coaches called to tell me to play for them. I said yeah, I’d like to, that if I had to leave I would almost certainly go to London, but that I didn’t know what Madrid would do.
“I knew they’d bring me back but I didn’t know if it was to keep me or sell me. I spoke directly to Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte, although the norm is clubs call my dad or agent. Madrid said they didn’t want to sell, so here I am. I remember talking to my dad then and him saying: ‘This guy’s going to win the league there.’
“Conte is the manager who most ‘bet’ on me, without even ever having had me in his team. I’m very conscious of that: he bet on me for Juventus but left before I arrived; then he wanted me at Chelsea come what may. He knows me better than I could imagine, I’m sure, and that’s important: it motivates you to work hard, train well.
“I feel indebted to him because he’s the coach that most trusted in me, most wanted me, who made me feel I could perform at the highest level. And yet I’ve never had the fortune to actually work with him. I’m sure sooner or later I will.
“The future excites me, whether that’s Madrid or somewhere else. I still have to learn, improve. I can do a lot but I need to play more and for someone to really back me. Either I take off or I end up in a position of comfort, playing games occasionally. I’m no longer the youngest, I’m 24, it’s a big moment.”
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.