Chelsea have signed Alvaro Morata for a fee belived to be around £58 million in a move to provide Antonio Conte the star name he needs up front.
Despite showing great promise at both Real Madrid and Juventus playing time has been an issue, with the 24-year-old having never started more than 16 league matches in a season. With Diego Costa seemingly on the way out of the club, Morata will be hoping that he can finally get a chance to show what he can do for a full season.
Last year was certainly the Spaniard’s best to date. With 15 goals, he finished eigth in goals in La Liga last season despite playing at least 1,000 fewer minutes than any other player in the top 10.
This was perhaps unsurprising as Morata led the league in shot accuracy among players with at least 50 shots (63 per cent). Had he been in the Premier League last season he would have still ranked top five in that category.
Standing tall, the former Juventus man is also a threat in the air which was demonstrated by his six headed goals - a statistic that would have put him in that top five in England as well.
For Fantasy, Morata does already look a tasty option. Not only will he likely be replacing Costa’s contributions, but he could well improve on them. Last year based on per 90 minute stats, Morata was better in goals, shots, shot accuracy, and even assists.
One surprising potential downside though is the aerial game. While the newcomer is good in the air, Chelsea are not particularly fond of crossing the ball despite their incredible wing talent and depth. In fact, they finished 15th in crosses per game in the league last year, and it’s not as if Costa is a slouch in the air by any stretch.
The other potential downside is the change in potency in attack. Real Madrid led the Spanish league in chances created (522) while Conte’s men just snuck into the top five in England (446). That having been said Morata should still get his fair of scoring opportunities so long as he gets the minutes that we expect.
Projecting for 2017-18 is a much simpler chore than it could have been as Morata was in Goal’s European Super League game last season. As such we have a pretty direct comparison between him and some of the Premier League’s top strikers.
His 128 points would have made him a top 15 Fantasy striker in England despite the lack of minutes which hurts both directly (two points per start) and indirectly (can’t score points when you’re not playing).
Last season, his 15 goals and four assists would have landed him somewhere between Fernando Llorente (15 goals, 3 assists, 2442 minutes) and Olivier Giroud (12 goals, 5 assists, 1206 minutes). His £7.8m price tag is obviously much higher than those two but it is very similar to Alexandre Lacazette - and rightfully so.
Both Morata and Lacazette are new to the Premier League, come with a lot of hype, are moving to top five attacks in London, and share some really eery per 90 stats:
So basically, if you think Lacazette will do well you should also expect Morata to do well.
After all of this you may have expected Morata to go straight into the “must-buy” category but, unexciting though it may be, patience is probably the wiser choice at this point.
The matchups to start the year are not exactly favourable as Chelsea will face three of last seasons top five defences in their first five matches. That tough start should be seen as an audition process for your Fantasy team.
If Morata comes out of that stretch with a couple of goals, solid performances, and a clear hold of a starting job you can then invest his £7.8m price with confidence.