Chelsea target Alvaro Morata was 'really close' to joining Manchester United, says Ander Herrera

James Benge
On the move: Morata is expected to leave Real Madrid this summer: Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has revealed that Alvaro Morata was “really close” to joining him at Old Trafford this summer.

It had been widely reported earlier in the transfer window that Morata was United’s first choice target to replace the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic but a dramatic volte-face earlier this month saw the Red Devils swoop for Romelu Lukaku from under Chelsea’s noses.

Morata, who has struggled to earn a regular place in the Real Madrid starting XI since returning to Santiago Bernabeu last season, has since emerged as Chelsea’s preferred option to replace Diego Costa, who has been told by head coach Antonio Conte that he can leave the club.

Herrera revealed that he had been in the dark over United’s interest in Lukaku, admitting his disappointment to have missed out on his compatriot.

“I even started to think I'd be playing with Morata. He was really close to signing,” he said.

“It's a shame he's not with us but he's a top striker and will do well wherever he plays.”

United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that his side’s pursuit of Morata, 24, was over after Real Madrid rejected offers for the striker, seemingly hinting that he considered signing both the Spanish international and Lukaku this summer.

That would appear to leave the field open for Chelsea to snare Morata, with Swansea’s Fernando Llorente being considered as a possible option in reserve.

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