Sky Italia reported this morning that Real Madrid have turned down an offer of £52.4million (€60million) from Manchester United for their 24-year-old striker, Álvaro Morata.
Morata, who was a graduate of Madrid’s youth academy, joined Juventus in 2014 for just £17.5million, scoring 25 goals in a side that went on to win the domestic double of the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia in both of his two seasons at the club.
Last summer the striker was re-signed by Madrid for £26m, as Real triggered a buy-back clause in the original transfer.
Even then, it looked questionable as to whether Morata would remain at Madrid long-term, or if it was just a ploy by the Spanish giant to sign him up so that he could not pose a threat on the European front before selling him on for big money.
It looks like this has been the case, with limited playing time this season as Zidane needed to also accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Isco and Lucas Vázquez as well as the promising youngster Marco Asensio into his starting eleven.
It is believed that Madrid are holding out, with their own valuations of the player closer to £78million (€90million). Chelsea and AC Milan have also been linked.
Morata is not the only high-profile player being linked with a departure from the club this summer.
There are strong suggestions that James Rodriguez – Madrid’s 2014 £68million signing – is on his way out, with Zidane preferring the Spanish playmaker Isco to the Colombian who was left out of the match day squad in Cardiff at the weekend.
Having declined a one-year contract extension, the Brazilian defender Pepe looks set to join PSG on a free transfer with his contract up at the end of June, after a decade at the European champions.