When Xavi Hernández became Barcelona manager two years ago, there was heavy speculation that he wanted to sign Álvaro Morata as his new striker. But a transfer never materialized, and Barça ended up making a high-profile move for Robert Lewandowski instead.
But we found out on Saturday’s pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s La Liga match against Atlético Madrid that Xavi did indeed want to sign the player he will face at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium.
The boss revealed he spoke personally to Morata, a strategy Xavi has used with every player the club has signed since he took over, and was full of praise for the Spanish international.
Xavi: “I spoke to Álvaro Morata as I wanted to bring him to Barça, it’s true”.
“It was a possibility, we discussed in the past about that… he’s very good player, hard worker, I really like him a lot”. pic.twitter.com/S7HPee2Vt4
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 2, 2023
Morata is off to a brilliant start this season, with 12 goals in 3 assists in 17 games across all competitions for Atlético, and has formed an unstoppable pairing with Antoine Griezmann in the center of the Colchonero attack.
It’s hard to know if Morata would be as productive playing a much different style at Barça, and Xavi doesn’t have a great track record with the players he “really likes” and has managed to bring to Camp Nou, like Marcos Alonso, Raphinha and Ferran Torres who — in the case of the last two — cost a whole lot of money and haven’t produced nearly enough.
But with Lewandowski playing well below expectation since joining Barça, would Morata have been a better alternative at a much lower price? We’ll never know.