Aitor Karanka in full praise of Alvaro Morata, says Real fans still miss Jose Mourinho

Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has heaped praise on Alvaro Morata and claims the Real Madrid striker can “fit anywhere” amid reports linking him with a move to Manchester United.

The Spain international striker re-joined the Champions League and the La Liga winners last summer from Juventus after Real exercised their right in re-signing the player. Karim Benzema was Zinedine Zidane’s preferred striker, ahead of Morata.

Morata made 14 starts in the league and managed to score 15 goals in La Liga. A lack of playing time at Real has forced him to look for a new club. He is linked with a move to the Premier League, with Old Trafford likely to be his preferred destination.

According to the Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, United have already agreed personal terms with Morata, while the two clubs are yet to agree a deal for the striker. Karanka, who has seen the Spaniard’s development at Real, has backed the 24-year-old to be a success in the Premier League if he joins United.

“Alvaro fits anywhere. Since he was with us at the age of 19 (we could see it). I know him since he was 17 because he came to the Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria,” Karanka told Cadena Ser.

“Alvaro is the classic player that can fit anywhere. He has everything. The year he spent at Juventus was good for him to mature. For this football (the Premier League) he is a spectacular player.”

Another report from Cadena Ser claims Real and United are set to agree a fee between €70-80m (£61.1-69.9m).

Karanka was Mourinho’s assistant at Real and the 43-year-old and the current United manager share a very good relationship off the pitch. The duo met at Old Trafford when Middlesbrough lost to the Red Devils in the League last season.

The Spanish coach admitted that it was difficult for him to face a team managed by his mentor. Karanka revealed that a large section of Real fans still miss Mourinho while stressing that his family experienced difficult moments during his spell in Madrid.

“Mourinho was planning to have me with him at Chelsea, but I said I wanted to make that jump out on my own. It was only when I saw his face at Old Trafford that I knew how difficult it was to try and beat a friend. Let’s hope that I can deal with facing Mourinho twice a year,” he explained.

“My family experienced some bad moments at Real Madrid with Mourinho. There was a lack of respect. I just wanted to do the best I could for Real Madrid and for Mourinho. I am sure that many Madridistas miss Mourinho”.