Jul 10, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
After scoring nine goals in his first full campaign with Real Madrid’s senior squad, Álvaro Morata, one of the brightest forward prospects in Spain, is on his way to Italy. After agreeing to a four-year deal with Juventus, the 21-year-old striker will move to Turin, leaving the European champions to further his career at Juventus.
According to various reports, Real Madrid will receive a $29.9 million (€22 million) fee, with Morata set to earn $3 million per season. After two years, El Real can exercise a buy-back option, with reported fees ranging from $40.7 to $44.8 million.
“I’m really looking forward to touching down in Turin,” Morata told MARCA. “I’ve heard it’s a lovely city and I can’t wait to get to know it.”
It’s a steep investment for a player who has 11 goals in 52 career career appearances, but given what Morata’s accomplished at youth levels, it’s difficult to image him moving for less. In 2013, he was the Golden Boot winner at the Euro U-21 championships. Two years earlier, Morata won the same award at the U-19 tournaments. Thanks to the highly skilled target man, Spain won both competitions, building an early reputation for their aspiring star.
At club-level, Morata already has winners medals from this year’s Champions League and Copa del Rey, though his first full year with Real Madrid’s first team wasn’t an easy one. Though he scored eight goals in 23 league appearances (nine in 34, overall), Morata’s form was occasionally drew the scrutiny of the Spanish press, particularly in light of the contributions fellow 21-year-olds Isco and Jesé Rodríguez were making for the club. Given his exploits at U-level and Real Madrid Castilla (where he was scoring goals as an 18-year-old), Morata had built expectations, ones too high for a nine-goal season to meet.
Away from the pressure cookers of Real Madrid and his home country, Morata should have room to grow, though leaving the competition of Karim Benzema is no guarantee of increased playing time. With Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tévez, Sebastian Giovinco, and Fabio Quagliarella in tow (as of now), Juventus already has a stockpile of forwards.
Given head coach Antonio Conte plays a system with two strikers (as opposed to Real Madrid’s one), the 6’3″ Morata will have more spots to compete for in Juventus’s lineups. And with the Juventus boss reportedly pushing for the move, Morata should have every opportunity to win playing time in Turin.
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