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Reports: Juventus, Atletico Madrid agree to loan deal for Alvaro Morata

Well, well, well.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Sociedad - La Liga Photo by Rubén de la Fuente Pérez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Turns out Luis Suarez might still play a role in helping Juventus get a new No. 9 this season.

It just looks like it won’t actually be him.

With Suarez (again) reportedly on the brink of Barcelona and making his way to the Spanish capital to sign with Atletico Madrid, Los Rojiblancos are in need of freeing up space on both their payroll and their roster. That’s where Juventus comes into play, as it is being reported by media outlets in both Italy and Spain that the Italian champions are bringing back their former No. 9, Alvaro Morata, back to Turin to fill the still-vacant No. 9 spot that has been a key transfer objective ever since the summer transfer window began.

Morata is expected in Turin on Tuesday to undergo his medical exams and make his return to Juventus official. Here are the details of the deal, courtesy of Sky Sport Italia’s Fabrizio Romano:

Of course, this comes off a weekend when it was pretty much assumed that it was only a matter of time before Juventus signed Edin Dzeko from Roma. According to Nico Schira of La Gazzetta dello Sport, the deal for Morata was first viewed more of a backup plan if something for Dzeko didn’t actually become official. That’s obviously changed now.

As we’ve known for a few weeks now, Dzeko had been first-year manager Andrea Pirlo’s No. 1 choice when it came to the No. 9 position.

When the news of a Morata deal potentially happening, Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio referred to Dzeko’s arrival at Juventus as something that’s “far from imminent” — which is something that gives you a pretty good idea as to why Fabio Paratici was searching for a backup plan to Pirlo’s preferred No. 9 signing. That very much had to do with the fact that the first domino that needs to fall that will essentially release Dzeko — who was called up for Roma’s season opener this past weekend and was part of the squad’s training session on Monday — to sign with Juventus, Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik, is still held up in Naples.

So as it looks right now, no Dzeko now means Morata returning to Juventus.

There is no denying that Morata’s two years with Juve were two of his more productive seasons in his career before he went back to Real Madrid on that memorable buyback clause saga. He didn’t rack up goals, but he scored some very important goals in Max Allegri’s first season as Juve manager as the team advanced to the Champions League final in 2015.

Morata is a different kind of striker than Dzeko is, and he could be viewed as one who is a lot more mobile than the 34-year-old Bosnian when it comes to adapting to Pirlo’s system. (Even though we’re still learning about Pirlo’s system with each passing week.) Plus, there’s the added bonus that Morata has already played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid and then was in Turin when Paulo Dybala was bursting onto the scene after he signed from Palermo.

Morata was Atletico Madrid’s leading goal scorer in La Liga play last season, recording 12 goals in 34 appearances (25 starts).