Speaking in an interview (h/t SPORT), Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has confirmed that he was ready to join Barcelona in January earlier this year after holding talks with Xavi Hernandez.
However, he was on loan at Juventus at the time, and the Bianconeri manager, Massimiliano Allegri rejected the forward’s request to leave midway through the campaign.
Barcelona were intent on bringing in a new striker during the January window and Morata was one of the main targets for the club. Manager Xavi was reportedly keen on the former Real Madrid striker as he sought to turn the fortunes of the team around.
And, Morata has now confirmed that he had the chance to move to Barcelona and Xavi even convinced him to move to Spotify Camp Nou. However, Juventus refused to let him leave midway through his loan spell, putting an end to the transfer.
“I had options to sign for Barça. I went to speak to Allegri and he told me no, he wanted me to stay and play with [Dusan] Vlahovic,” Morata said.
“Xavi called me, and we talked about football. It’s an honour that someone like Xavi is interested in you. He convinced me with his speech. I watched him play when I was a kid,” the Atletico Madrid striker added.
Having missed out on Morata, the Blaugrana ended up signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal, a deal that worked out quite well as the Gabonese ace finished as the club’s top scorer last season before leaving for Chelsea earlier this summer.
Morata was once again linked with Barcelona during the summer transfer window following his return to Atletico Madrid. As per reports, Barça and Atleti held talks over a swap deal involving him and Griezmann, but the ex-Real Madrid ace rejected the move.