Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has claimed that he was directly approached by Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez to discuss a potential move to Camp Nou in January this year.
Morata, 29, returned to Los Rojiblancos from Juventus earlier this summer after spending two years on loan at the Allianz Stadium. He plied his trade for Massimiliano Allegri’s side last season, scoring 12 goals and contributing nine assists in 48 appearances.
Although Juventus had the option to purchase him for €35 million, the Serie A giants decided to let the striker return to Atletico Madrid this summer. However, Morata has revealed he had the chance to move to Barcelona during the winter window last term.
Morata told El Larguero:
“There were options to go to Barça. I went to speak with Allegri and he told me I wasn’t going anywhere, that he wanted me to play with [Dusan] Vlahovic. I had another four or five offers, all of them really good, but in the end, Atletico Madrid had the final word.”
“Xavi called me and we spoke about football. It’s an honor that a coach like Xavi has you in his mind. He convinced me with his speech. Even more [as] I watched him play while growing up in Las Rozas de Madrid.”
After missing out on Morata, the Blaugrana roped in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal on a free transfer. The Gabonese striker went on to become the club’s top scorer last season. Aubameyang scored 13 goals in 24 matches before leaving for Chelsea earlier this summer.
Meanwhile, Morata was once again linked with Barcelona ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. According to Barca Universal, the Catalan giants held talks with Atletico Madrid over a swap deal involving the former Chelsea man and Antoine Griezmann. However, the Spaniard rejected the move.
The Blaugrana made eight additions to their squad this summer. The club signed Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie, Hector Bellerin, Marcos Alonso and Pablo Torre for a combined sum of over €150 million.
Barcelona, who are currently unbeaten in the La Liga, will next be in action against Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium on Saturday, October 1.
Xavi vetoed Barcelona move for Dani Olmo
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez vetoed the club’s move for RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Dani Olmo, according to El Nacional.
Xavi believed Olmo to be an expensive signing and instead wanted to focus on the development of Ferran Torres, who arrived in January this year.
Torres has gone on to score 8 goals in 33 appearances across all competitions.