With two days left for teams to take advantage of the summer transfer window, Brendan Rodgers is still trying to make moves for Liverpool, hoping to get at least one more striker before September arrives, turning the club’s attention towards Fernando Llorente, who has been looking for a way out of Athletic Bilbao all summer.
Liverpool aren’t the only club interested in Llorente, yet to play a match this season for Bilbao due to his situation which also involves his contract running in 12 months, meaning not selling him now or in January is losing any chance of making a profit over the home grown player.
For most of the summer, Juventus have been linked to the player. Bilbao, never keen on letting their best players go, even for very large fees, mostly due to the fact that the talent pool they usually work with is really small and replacing a Spanish international like Llorente can take a couple of seasons. Llorente has a release clause of €30 million, which no one has met yet, and Bilbao aren’t willing to back off from.
Maybe the conclusion of the Javi Martinez deal, who finalized his transfer to Bayern Munich from the Basque club for €40 million is a sign that Bilbao are getting a bit more flexible. However, it’s rumored that the Martinez deal was made possible through the player buying out his own contract through the Spanish FA, and that would mean Liverpool, or any other team, willing to give up €30 million for the 27 year old striker.
Seeing as Rodgers still has Andy Carroll, who cost £35 million, sitting on the bench without too many plans of using him this season as anything more than a substitute, it’s hard to imagine his board allowing him to sign anyone, especially another striker, for such a high price. Just like in the Walcott deal, there’s a good chance that finding a team to pay £15-20 million for Carroll will show the way for Rodgers to get another attacking player.
If not, there are plenty of other buyers – Still Juventus, looking for a striker, and maybe even Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger, showing it or not, feels that two matches without any goals scored is quite enough and feels like he needs more attacking prowess on his team if this season is to be more than just a chase for 3rd-4th place.
Llorente has been with Bilbao since the age of 11 and has 299 matches for the senior club since 2004, scoring 113 goals in all competitions, including a career best 29 last season, helping Bilbao to the Europa League Final and the Copa Del Rey Final.