Sunday, December 2, 2012
What's next for Fernando Llorente?
There has been much speculation lately about the future of Basque attacker, Fernando Llorente, who is out of contract with Athletic Bilbao in summer 2013. Llorente, being 27, has declared his intention to leave Bilbao by rejecting a contract extension.
This being his 9th senior season at the club, could be his last, as big fish are lurking around, looking for a bargain in January, with various reports saying Llorente could leave the club for a lot less then speculated in the previous transfer window, when he was linked to Italian giants, Juventus, who had a bid of €20M rejected. It is said that Juventus have not given up hope of signing Llorente, and are preparing a new bid, though it'll surely come shy of €20M offered in the summer, but they're likely to face competition, as both Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in the powerful forward.
Llorente was also monitored by several English clubs during the summer, primarily London-based clubs, Arsenal and Tottenham, who were also unsuccessful with their approaches. Move to Tottenham seems unlikely at the moment, due to a big competition for his signature and player's wage demands that would exceed Spurs's wage cap.
Fernando was arguably the most influential player Athletic has had in the past couple of seasons, with him making over 300 appearances, netting 115 goals, but after his public declaration, his playing time was limited in favor of Arduiz. Llorente featured just 8 times this season, mostly coming on as a substitute.
Atheltic Bilbao are yet to comment on availability of the player and have been dismissive of suggestions of him leaving in January, but it would be sensible to sell the player in January, instead of letting him walk for free in summer, when his professional obligation with the club comes to an end.