With rumours gathering speed that Alvaro Morata is on his way out of Chelsea, Gab Marcotti believes they will wait until they have someone in to replace him first.

Chelsea are ready to loan out Alvaro Morata in January with Maurizio Sarri keen on bringing in Gonzalo Higuain as his replacement, sources have told ESPN FC.

On Wednesday sources told ESPN FC that Morata’s agent travelled to London to meet with Chelsea officials and discuss a loan move away from Stamford Bridge, and Sevilla sporting director Joaquin Caparros claimed that his club were the front-runners after meeting with the striker’s representative.

But sources have told ESPN FC that Sevilla’s chances of loaning Morata have been complicated by Atletico Madrid’s entry into the race, with manager Diego Simeone viewing the 26-year-old as a potential long-term successor to Diego Costa up front.

La Liga salary restrictions mean Atletico would likely have to offload one or two players in order to take on Morata’s wages, which are understood to reach £200,000-a-week when bonuses are factored in.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Barcelona have also been offered the chance to loan Morata, but he is not their main target.

Chelsea are not prepared to sell Morata in January, mindful of the fact that his underwhelming performances at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017 ensure that he will not attract offers anything like the £58 million they paid to sign him.

The purpose of a temporary deal is to allow him to rebuild his value elsewhere, but sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea want any loan club to cover Morata’s salary in full until the end of the season and he will not be allowed to depart until a replacement striker is secured.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Sarri wants that man to be Higuain, with AC Milan willing to cut short the Argentine’s loan from Juventus after just eight months and just six goals in 15 Serie A appearances this season.

Higuain enjoyed the most prolific scoring season of his career under Sarri at Napoli, netting 36 goals in 35 Serie A games in 2015-16, and the Chelsea head coach suggested the 31-year-old as a potential target for his new club prior to Juventus loaning him to Milan last summer.

Any agreement to bring in Higuain this month will not be easy, however, with Chelsea reluctant to deviate from their policy of offering only one-year contracts to players over the age of 30 or commit to any lucrative obligation to buy him from Juventus at the end of the season.


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