Chelsea: Antonio Conte Close to Solving Blues' Striker Crisis, But It'll Cost Almost $100 Million

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte, center, at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, July 16. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

Chelsea is close to completing the signing of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata for a deal in the region of £75 million (about $98 million) after positive negotiations, according to reports.

Antonio Conte is in desperate need of a striker before the Premier League season resumes on August 13, after missing out on the team's top target.

Romelu Lukaku, the 24-year-old Belgian striker, snubbed a return to Stamford Bridge in order to join Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, leaving Chelsea short of strikers.

Conte reportedly told Diego Costa, Chelsea's top scorer last season, that he was not in his plans for the upcoming campaign, leaving 23-year-old Michy Batshuayi as the only attacking option.

But according to the Daily Mail, Chelsea may be close to coming to an agreement with European champion Real Madrid to sign Morata, with the Spanish club looking for £75 million.

Morata, 24, scored 22 goals in 47 appearances last season after returning to the Bernabeu from Juventus, where he worked with Conte during his time as coach in Turin.

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The Spaniard is one of several strikers Chelsea has been linked to this summer. Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was reportedly available to the London club for £60 million, while Chelsea was said to have registered an interest in Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.

Chelsea started its pre-season with an 8-2 victory over Fulham in a behind-closed-doors friendly. Conte's side will play Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in warm-up matches before facing Arsene Wenger's team in the Community Shield on August 6.

The Premier League champion then begins its title defense at home to Burnley on August 12.