One of the biggest shocks of this transfer window so far was when Manchester United announced that they had signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton.
Having chased Alvaro Morata for a few months but unwilling to pay £70m for a benchwarmer who was unproven in the Premier League, United shifted their attention to Lukaku. The Everton man had been linked with a return to Chelsea throughout last season
In an era when transfers are muted for weeks or months before occurring, it was a shock that United had swooped in and signed a player who the champions believed was coming to them.
With Lukaku off the table, Chelsea signed Morata, a player who Antonio Conte was also a fan of.
Over the last five season, Lukaku has scored 85 goals and claimed 27 assists. In the same period of time, the older striker, Morata, has scored 40 goals and claimed 17 assists. What also goes in Lukaku’s favour is that all of his goals have come in the Premier League, while Morata has only played in Serie A and La Liga.
Still, Chelsea fans and some sections of the media claimed that Morata is the player that Chelsea wanted all along. In an interview today, Conte has put these rumours to bed.
“You know very well the dynamic of the market: it seemed that Morata would finish at Manchester United and Lukaku at Chelsea. Instead it happened the other way around,” he said.
When pushed on whether he preferred Lukaku or Morata, Conte swerved the questions, opting to claim they were both first choice strikers.
“It is not important to say,” he said. “For me, Lukaku and Morata are at the same level, first choice for a great club like Chelsea and United.”
Had Conte wanted Morata all along, and not Lukaku, it would be strange for him to refuse to confirm that, given that Chelsea have signed Morata.
All in all, it was a fantastic bit of work from United in the transfer window, for a change!