This summer was awash with transfer news and rumours spilling across the World Wide Web; with some figures central in a continued and prolonged summer of potential activity. Names such as Stevan Jovetic, Radamel Falcao and Edison Cavani were consistently linked with moves across Europe this summer, including the Premier League.
None of them eventually moved, declaring themselves happy to remain at their current clubs for the foreseeable future but the case of Fernando Llorente is a different proposition altogether. The Athletic Bilbao and Spain striker loves his club but he feels it is time to end his 16 year association with the club he first joined as an 11-year-old.
Dubbed ‘The Lion King’ due to the mane of golden hair adorning the 27-year-old’s head and Bilbao’s big-cat related nickname he has been a prestigious goalscorer for many a campaign.
This summer many a team was linked with his signature, with Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham amongst the names mentioned.
But Tottenham have brought in Clint Dempsey and Arsenal seem settled up front with Edin Dzeko seemingly happy at The Etihad rendering these contenders as mere gossip fodder certainly.
Despite Juventus still being considered the favourites to snap him up they are not in a position of financial or reputational power at this moment in time. Despite being a considerable power they still reel financially from a campaign in Serie B due to match fixing allegations. Such an evil has again reared its ugly head as Antonio Conte, the man principally responsible for their recent brilliant performances on the pitch, currently suspended due to his involvement in such affairs whilst in charge at Siena.
Not to mention Juventus have started the campaign promisingly, with a move for Stevan Jovetic of Giuseppe Rossi becoming more likely in the wake of a growing discontent at the way Athletic Bilbao have managed the transfer proceedings this summer.
Bilbao is a club that rely heavily on the rearing of talent through their impressive youth system, an all Basque club means most of their first teamers are from the region so they rightly take a strong view toward selling their players, as seen in the recent sale of Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich the hierarchy at Bilbao like to be fairly compensated.
So if he is to come to the Premier League there is surely only one team that must chase his elusive signature. Liverpool have been left short of striking options, and the wastefulness of Borini and Suarez has proved pivotal in a lacklustre start to the campaign.
Llorente plays a ‘tika-taka’ style with Bilbao; instilled in him from the age of 11; an intrinsic ability that Brendan Rodgers would surely covet.
His price-tag may be high in January but with a contract dwindling toward expiry even the proudest of teams such as Bilbao will eventually have to make the tough decision to cash in on their most valuable asset.
If you are in any doubt of his goalscoring abilities, here he is scoring with his first two touches of the season; coming off the bench after being left out due to the aforementioned contract wrangling’s …
image: © birasuegi