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Saturday 21 October 2017

Pochettino: 'Kane scared off Morata'

£58m man feared being back-up to Spurs striker

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. Pic: PA
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. Pic: PA

Mauricio Pochettino claims Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata turned down the chance of a move to Tottenham -because he feared being back-up to Harry Kane.

Morata joined the Premier League champions this summer from Real Madrid for £58million, two years after Pochettino tried to tempt the player to Spurs.

However, the Spain international apparently rejected the move because of the presence of Kane at White Hart Lane.

Pochettino said: "Morata talked about myself, in the media he said 'Mauricio called me'. That was two years ago or more.

Bench

"He said to me: 'Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane? You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say: 'eh gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench? I can't compete with Harry Kane or Hugo Lloris or different players.'

Spurs striker Harry Kane, in action recently against Manchester City. Pic: Reuters
Spurs striker Harry Kane, in action recently against Manchester City. Pic: Reuters

"It's so difficult to convince good players to come and then be on the bench. Then the problems start."

Kane has been the Premier League's leading goalscorer for the last two seasons and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte last week said if there was one striker he could sign it would be the 24-year-old England international, who he described as "a complete player".

Meanwhile, Chelsea are considering a personal fitness regime for Diego Costa as the striker's departure from the Premier League champions edges closer.

Costa's career at Stamford Bridge is over and head coach Antonio Conte has already told the Spain forward he will not be permitted to train with Chelsea's first team at their Cobham base.

Costa has yet to return for pre--season training but, with Atletico -Madrid and AC Milan hopeful of signing him this summer, Chelsea are prepared to send the 28-year-old on a special training programme until a deal is agreed.

Costa has been training alone in Brazil and Chelsea want to ensure he is fully-fit to speed up the chances of a move away.

Atletico failed with an initial bid of £26million last month but are keen to take their former player back to the Spanish capital, even though they are operating under a transfer ban until January.

AC Milan are interested in a -permanent deal for Costa and -Chelsea remain confident of -agreeing a significant fee for last season's leading scorer, despite his spectacular fallout with Conte and the club's hierarchy.

Conte admitted during Chelsea's tour of Asia that he decided to axe the striker in January after running out of patience as Costa pushed for a move to the lucrative Chinese -Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

It is also understood that Costa asked to leave Chelsea on three -separate occasions last season and the club are determined to offload him quickly to avoid any more -potential flare-ups.

Chelsea's squad return to training today after being given a few days off following their return from Singapore over the weekend.

Chelsea are more focused on recruitment, having allowed midfielder Nemanja Matic to leave for Manchester United, with Conte hopeful of up to four more signings before the transfer window closes on Aug 31.

Conte has already spent around £130million on Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger but has made it clear that he still wants reinforcements.

Juventus left-back Alex Sandro is a priority target, while Leicester's Danny Drinkwater has now been added to Chelsea's wishlist as they look to increase their quota of British players.

Leicester insist Drinkwater is not for sale, but he has joined Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Everton's Ross Barkley as another potential English recruit.

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