Fernando Llorente is being closely tracked by three top clubs this January. Although a number of suitors will be interested in the Spaniard, it is Arsenal, Tottenham and Juventus who lead the way to sign the tall striker.
In recent years, Llorente has become one of the most feared attackers in Europe, and as he is out of contract at the end of the current season with club Athletic Bilbao, he’ll be available on the cheap (£5m according to talkSPORT and £7m in the Daily Mail) if they decide to cash in earlier in January – rather than losing him for free in the summer.
He has had a fantastic time playing with Spain, winning the World Cup and European Championship, but now that he is 27-years-old he’ll be looking to progress further in his club career by moving to a top-level side.
There has been no talk yet however about Liverpool thinking about making an offer for Llorente, seeing as they are in desperate need for a striker and the fact that he could be available for so little. Perhaps being 6ft 5in, Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers believes he is too similar to Andy Carroll – who was shipped out on loan in the summer.
However here are the clubs who are favourites to capture the want-away man.
The Gunners have had mixed fortunes this season so far, but despite making a poor start to the campaign in the league, they now find themselves just two points off the Champions League places.
Although their results have improved lately, they have still not been producing very convincing performances, and so will need to introduce some much-needed quality and experience if they want to stay within reach of competing in all competitions.
Spurs have only faired slightly better than Arsenal this season, being only two points in front of their north London rivals, but it seems that they may not be in desperate need for a striker at this point, with Jermaine Defoe – who is going through one of the best goal-scoring spells of his career – and Emmanuel Adebayor – who is starting to find a bit of form himself after slowly gaining back fitness – already on their books.
Andre Villas-Boas has however began to adopt a 4-4-2 formation in recent matches, and with Defoe and Adebayor his only natural strikers, he could be tempted in making an offer for Llorente.
Being defending Serie A champions, current league leaders and having qualified as the top team in their Champions League group – ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea – Turin could be the ideal place for the Bilbao icon to move in January.
With fantastic players already at the club such as Andrea Pirlo, Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon, Llorente would be a welcome addition. The only problem is that the Italian League is certainly nowhere near the standard it used to be, as it seems England, Spain and now Paris are the desired destinations these days. That, as well as the fact that The Old Lady already boast accomplished forwards in their team.
After going through the clubs, the side from this list who would best fit with the needs of Llorente would perhaps be Arsenal. He could really be the central figure that Arsene Wenger can rely on, and he will be used to the style of play at the Emirates from his experiences with his country.
However, if Arsenal seriously pursue this transfer, they will surely face vast competition from other clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona. And especially if Liverpool decide to bite the bullet and spend the money on this potential bargain buy.