LONDON: Chelsea’s 80-million-euro new boy Alvaro Morata hailed the English champions as “the best club” and manager Antonio Conte as “one of the world’s best coaches” as the striker arrived in London to complete his transfer Thursday.
The 24-year-old is expected to sign a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge after a deal reported to be worth 80 million euros ($92.2 million) was agreed with Real Madrid.
“This is the best club,” Morata told Sky Sports News at Heathrow airport as he arrived to undergo a medical.
“Antonio Conte is one of the best coaches in the world and I’m so happy to work with Antonio. The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world and I’m so happy to be here.”
Real Madrid exercised a buy-back clause to bring Morata back from Juventus a year ago, having joined the Italian club in 2014 just days after Conte’s exit in Turin.
He scored 20 goals in 43 appearances last season as Real retained their Champions League crown while edging Barcelona to the Spanish title.
Morata had previously been linked with a move to Manchester United, but their interest ended after the signing of Romelu Lukaku from Everton.
Morata’s arrival in London could signal the end of his international team-mate Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea, with the latter strongly tipped for a return to Atletico Madrid.
Costa was granted extra time off by the Blues and has missed the start of pre-season training after the 28-year-old revealed in June that he was not part of Conte’s plans.
The Brazil-born Spain striker is keen on rejoining Atletico despite them not being allowed to register new players until January because of a transfer ban.