July 3, 2017 / 4:38 PM / 3 months ago

Morata nears United move as agent negotiates Real exit

Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Deportivo Coruna - Spanish La Liga Santander -Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain - 10/12/16 Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata reacts during the match. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho/Files

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain striker Alvaro Morata is closing in on a 70 million euros ($80 million) move from Real Madrid to Manchester United, Spanish media reported on Monday.

The forward’s agent Juanma Lopez and his father were photographed arriving at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Monday for a meeting with the European champions, and Spanish daily AS reported the two parties were close to finalising a deal by the end of the week.

Europa League holders United depart for their pre-season tour of the United States on July 9, where they will face Real in Santa Clara before taking on the Champions League winners in the UEFA Super Cup on Aug. 8.

Former Juventus forward Morata netted 20 times in all competitions last season in 17 starts, giving him the best goals to games ratio of Real’s forwards.

He also developed a knack for grabbing vital goals, including late winners against Sporting Lisbon, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao.

A Real academy graduate, Morata made his debut in 2010 under current United boss Jose Mourinho although left the club in 2014 for Juventus, returning two years later when the Spanish side exercised their buy-back clause.

As in his last season at Real, he proved decisive for the Serie A champions when called upon, taking Juve to the 2015 Champions League final with a decisive equaliser against Real in the semi-finals and scoring in the 3-1 defeat by Barcelona in the final.

Morata, 24, failed to hold down a regular place for Juventus or Real despite his decisive cameo appearances, but if his move to United is completed he can expect to be Mourinho’s first- choice striker after the club parted ways with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who suffered a serious knee injury in April.

($1 = 0.8799 euros)

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond

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