Chelsea club-record signing Alvaro Morata has played down suggestions that he regrets moving to London, insisting he would be prepared to sign a 10-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
Morata, who has scored seven goals since joining the Blues for an initial £58m in July, appeared to claim in an interview with an Italian newspaper that he has found life in England stressful does not envisage staying long-term.
But on the eve of his side’s Champions league tussle with Roma in the Eternal City, the 25-year-old Spaniard distanced himself from the notion that his move to Chelsea was a mistake and an exit is imminent.
“I want to say that we had a problem of understanding in this interview,” said former Real Madrid and Juventus frontman Morata, who signed a five-year deal in the summer. “If Chelsea proposed me 10 years I’d probably sign that too.
“I’m happy with this club, in this city, with everything in London. I really like London and, probably, if I make good and improve, probably I can stay here more than five years. But I need to score many goals, otherwise Chelsea will buy another player. It’s normal.
“I want to say, probably in the future when I finish in my career, I won’t live in London. But now, at the moment, I’m very happy in London and enjoy living in London with my wife.
“Probably in the future, when I need to bring my child to the school and take up school, when I finish my career, I’d prefer to come back to my country. For me, I prefer the place I was born.
“But now I’m very happy. When I say it’s a special city, I’m only talking about the traffic and that there are a lot of people. But it’s an incredible city with many religions and many kind of different people, so I really enjoy London.”
Blues boss Antonio Conte, who himself has been linked with a move away from Chelsea at the end of the season, insists he has not detected any unhappiness from Morata.
“Alvaro is a good person and is enjoying his time in London and playing with Chelsea, a great team,” said Conte. “I know very well where he is living, it is the same building I lived. A lovely place and not so far from the training ground.
“Every time I have spoken with him he says he is very happy, with the experience for him and his wife. I enjoy London and this league. It is a fantastic experience for Alvaro in a tough league.”
Conte, whose side can seal qualification to the Champions League knockout phase with a victory in the Italian capital, is set to speak with midfielder N’Golo Kante before deciding whether he will feature against Roma. The 26-year-old has been out with a hamstring injury since early October.