On September 22nd the Old Lady's search for her new number 9 came to an end, and it ended with the return of a very familiar face in Alvaro Morata. Many fans will hear the name Morata and instantly be taken back to the 2014/2015 season in which the Spanish striker scored several important goals on the road to that year's UEFA Champions League Final, most memorably against Real Madrid in a semi-final meeting. Ironically, Morata would be playing his football for Real Madrid one year later, as the club activated a €30 million buyback clause inserted into his initial transfer to Juventus. Since then however, Morata's career has been far from plain sailing for El Matador, as the relative high of a Real Madrid return was quickly followed by a terrible spell at Chelsea before returning once again to Madrid to play for Atletico. During these travels Morata's goal scoring form has been erratic to say the least, especially when looking at his time in London which ended after two seasons and only 24 goals scored.
So why sign Morata?
Quite simply because Juventus needed another option in the striker role, As going into 3 competitions with only Ronaldo, Dybala and a make shift striker in Kulusevski was not enough depth for a two man strike force. When compared with other names that have been linked with the club such as Edin Dzeko & Luis Suarez, Morata is actually the best option available. But why is that? After all this is a player that could only score 22 goals over 61 appearances for his most recent club Atletico Madrid. Well, that is because Juventus aren't in need of a prolific goal scorer as they already have that in Cristiano Ronaldo, but what they do need is a strike partner with a different style to compliment the Portuguese superstar. Despite Ronaldo's talents (and what some fans would like you to believe) he can't do everything on his own, especially at 35 years old. What Ronaldo needs is a mobile strike partner that can create space with their runs and allow Ronaldo to attack those open spaces left by defenders and shoot on goal, similar to what he had with Benzema at Real Madrid. Morata is exactly the type of player that can provide this, not an individual but a team player that is willing to work for his team mates rather than focus solely on his own game, Morata himself confirmed this during his first interview since returning to Juventus "As a striker I would like to score 30/40 goals, but many who hit these numbers don't win anything. I may have scored 15 goals, but I won a lot with the team. If I looked at these numbers, I would play tennis.". If Morata can rediscover his shooting boots to score in the big games like he did during his first spell with the club, and combine them with his ability to Support team mates like Ronaldo then Juventus could have a very successful partnership in its arsenal of attacking options.
The missing piece to Pirlo's puzzle?
As seen during Juventus opening day meeting with Sampdoria, Pirlo will likely set his team up in a 3-5-2 style formation with an advanced midfielder operating behind the front two. The likely scenario being that Pirlo rotates between Dybala & Morata to partner Cristiano Ronaldo, or possibly even playing all three to form a brand new version of last season's 'trident' by placing Dybala behind both Ronaldo & Morata. The good news is that Juventus once again have several options in attack for Pirlo to consider after the departure of Higuain, as seen by new boy Kulusevksi impressive performance that earned him a debut goal.
Home is where the heart is.
"I should never have left Italy and Juve." Those are the words said by Morata in 2017 before Chelsea met Roma in the Champions League.
Now three years later Morata is once again in Italy and playing for Juventus. It's no secret that Morata has not hit the heights that many Juventus fans expected him to reach since leaving the club, but it's also no secret that if a player is not happy then the chances are they will fail to produce what is expected of them on a football pitch. As a Chelsea player Morata's statistics are far from impressive, even saying himself "I do not see myself living here for very long." as London itself was “too big, too much stress, too much of a metropolis.” for Morata to be happy. Yet whenever Morata has spoken about his time with Juventus the comments have always been positive, and with good reason as it was the place where the then 22 year old had his best spell as a football player. Another reason for optimism is found when looking at the current manager at Juventus, Andrea Pirlo. Morata breakthrough season was played alongside Pirlo in midfield during the Maestro final season with the club, and having spent a full season training and in the locker room, Pirlo will know better than most how to get the best out of a former team mate like Alvaro Morata. "When I was younger, Juve took a punt on me & I always dreamed of coming back" now after a 4 abscence that dream has come true.
By: Graeme Scott (