Date published: Thursday 20th July 2017 11:15

Alvaro Morata was always Chelsea’s first-choice striker signing this summer, according to Guillem Balague.

Morata is closing in on a move to Stamford Bridge after the Premier League champions announced that they had agreed a fee of around £58million with Real Madrid for the forward.

In what Morata himself has declared a “slightly strange summer“, the Spaniard had been targeted initially by Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho discussed the deal on Thursday, insisting he was “not interested” in Chelsea’s business.

A player who was once United’s ‘smokescreen’ is set to become Chelsea’s club-record signing, and Sky Sports pundit Balague insists this was always the plan.

Although the Blues were thought to have targeted a move for Romelu Lukaku throughout the summer, Balague claims that Morata was Conte’s preference.

‘Morata (fast, clever, v.good finisher) was Conte’s choice,’ he posted on Twitter. ‘Club wanted Lukaku but Conte was worried by his lack of work off the ball.’