Analysis: Is Alvaro Morata the forward that Barcelona need this summer?

Despite having to reduce their wage bill by €200m ahead of next season, Barcelona are still intending to strengthen their squad this summer.

Club president Joan Laporta confirmed that the La Liga leaders are looking to add reinforcements in defence, with a right back and centre back being targeted.

Laporta also stated that a forward will be brought in, with Barcelona having been unable to replace Memphis Depay in January. The Dutchman rarely featured under Xavi Hernandez in the first half of the season, and he joined Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal during the winter transfer window.

Several names have been linked with Barcelona following Laporta’s admission. Vitor Roque was one that had been rumoured even before Barca confirmed their intentions, with the 18-year-old being lined up as a long term replacement for Robert Lewandowski.

However, Barcelona may also choose to sign an experienced option to act as backup to Lewandowski, and Fichajes have linked Alvaro Morata with a move to Catalonia from Atletico. The 30-year-old, who scored twice off the bench against Sevilla last weekend, has lost his place under Diego Simeone in recent weeks, and change of scenery is not off the table.

Morata has struggled for consistency at Atletico this season, having registered just nine La Liga goals in 24 appearances. Despite this, he could be a decent option for Barcelona if they do decide to look into signing him this summer.

At the 2022 World Cup, Morata was one of the standouts for Spain, in what was ultimately a very disappointing campaign. He netted three goals across the three group stage matches, and finished as La Roja’s top scorer at the tournament.

Luis Enrique, who was Spain’s head coach in Qatar, has a very similar style of play to Xavi, which adds evidence to the point that Morata could thrive at Barcelona should he make the switch this summer. In 61 matches for the national team, Morata has scored 30 goals, which is a very respectable strike rate at international level.

Ultimately, Lewandowski will still be considered first choice next season, and Morata would have to play a similar role to the one he’s currently adopted at Atletico. Being the wrong side of 30, he’s not someone that is likely to be at the club for many years, which goes against him, especially when compared to Roque.

The finances would have to be right for Barcelona if they were to pursue a deal for Morata. Atletico Madrid may decide to let him go cheaply this summer, in which case there’s definitely a reason for them to at least enquire about a transfer.

However, it’d be much more beneficial for the Blaugrana to pursue a deal for Roque over Morata if the latter isn’t available for pennies, even if the Brazilian were to cost double, for example.

Tags Alvaro Morata Atletico Madrid Barcelona Xavi
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