Chelsea close to signing Higuaín with Morata set to join Atlético Madrid

• Argentina striker set to cut short Milan loan spell
• Move would pave way for Álvaro Morata to join Atlético

Chelsea are close to securing the signing of Gonzalo Higuaín from Juventus after submitting a formal offer for the Argentina international.

The Premier League club have proposed taking Higuaín on loan until the end of the current season, with a view to making that move permanent on a further 12-month deal. Talks progressed rapidly on Wednesday night after Juve had claimed the Italian Supercoppa with victory over Milan, where the 31-year-old striker has been on loan to date this season, in Jeddah.

That temporary deal at San Siro will now be cancelled, with the player, who is on around £170,000-a-week but is keen to rejoin Maurizio Sarri, to discuss personal terms with Chelsea. Juventus are expected to formally confirm Higuain’s departure on Thursday, with the player then likely to fly to London for a medical.

Once Juventus have signed off the Higuain deal, Chelsea will sanction Álvaro Morata’s long mooted departure to Atlético Madrid. The Spain striker, who moved to Stamford Bridge in July 2017 for an initial £58m, is expected to re-join the club he began his career as a youth-team player on loan. Chelsea are also in talks with AS Monaco over the sale of Michy Batshuayi, for whom they are attempting to recoup as much as £40m. The Belgium striker is keen on a return to the south of France, where he played previously at Marseille.

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Chelsea would not normally pursue a player of Higuaín’s age and would instinctively be more inclined to go for Internazionale’s Mauro Icardi as a longer-term solution. But Sarri, in desperate need of a striker familiar with his preferred style of play, has made clear a desire to work again with a forward who set a new Serie A goalscoring record of 36 in 35 games over the season under his stewardship at Napoli. He was subsequently sold to Juve for £79.8m, only to be squeezed out by Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Turin last summer.

Meanwhile, Chelsea continue to resist Bayern Munich’s interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi, despite the Bundesliga club having offered £35m for the England youth international forward. Hudson-Odoi, who has yet to make a Premier League start, is keen on a move to Germany having grown frustrated at a perceived lack of senior opportunities and is expected to leave this month. Hasan Salihamidzic, Bayern’s sporting director, has admitted that they are still waiting for a response but remain determined to complete his signing. “I am fully convinced of his abilities, we are in talks with Chelsea,” he said. “We have to find a good mix between young talents and experienced leadership players.”


Fabrizio Romano and Dominic Fifield

The GuardianTramp

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