Juventus have reportedly won the race for Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente. According to Talk Sport, the 27-year-old Spain international will move to the Turin-based club during the summer transfer window.
Fernando Llorente has been one of the hottest transfer prospects in the football market for over a year now. The Spaniard, who came to fame after scoring 23 goals in 51 caps during the 2008-09 season, has been linked to top notch clubs from across Europe.
After scoring 29 goals in 53 appearances last season, Fernando Llorente became a high priority transfer target for Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were the frontrunners for Fernando Llorente’s signature for a long time, but since Athletic Bilbao kept rejecting their bids Juventus finally swooped in with a bigger bid.
In spite of recording stunning form for Athletic Bilbao last season, Fernando Llorente has fallen out of favor with his employers. The Athletic Bilbao administration doesn’t want their coveted striker to leave the club, even though Fernando Llorente is bent on making a big-money move as soon as possible.
Fernando Llorente’s contract with Athletic Bilbao expires at the end of the season. Athletic Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa has tried in vain to convince Fernando Llorente to extend his stay at the club, but the veteran wants to join a club where he has a chance to win silverware.
Athletic Bilbao offered Fernando Llorente a new contract at the beginning of the season, but it soon became clear that the striker was already prepared to move away. Juventus had to fight off interest from Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in order to win Fernando Llorente’s services.
“I do not beat around the bush, we told Athletic Bilbao that we are interested in the player and I’m optimistic about his contract. He will play for Juventus from July 1,” the sporting director of Juventus said in an interview yesterday.
Undoubtedly, Fernando Llorente is one of the top center forwards in the world. However, his career at Juventus is under-threat from lack of action and attitude problems. Fernando Llorente has been part of very few games over the last couple of months and his transfer saga with Athletic Bilbao has made us see a very different side of his character.
These issues shouldn’t be of major concern, yet Fernando Llorente would need time to settle in at Juventus.