Transfer Rumors 2012 – Juventus Closing in on Fernando Llorente

The 4-2 win over Napoli in the Italian Super Cup wasn’t enough to ease the minds of the Juventus sporting directors, adamant to add another striker to the mix before the season begins. It seems that Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao is the man closest to being the new front man for the Bianconeri.

Llorente has been Bilbao’s most prominent figure in recent years, scoring 18 goals in each of the last two seasons and playing in the Europe League fina and last season’s Copa del Rey final in two losing efforts. These losing efforts seem to have taken too much of a toll on his relationship with head coach Marcelo Bielsea, being the main reason for Llorente to seek an out from the club he has played for since he was 11.

Despite the fact that there’s only one year left on Llorente’s contract and he has no intention of renewing it, Bilbao are making it very difficult for Juventus, or any other team interested in the Spanish & Basque international, still not decisive whether they’d like to keep him until the contract runs out or cash in on him now or the January transfer window.

Llorente himself wants out. Because of Bielsa and because he feels he should be playing for a big club, meaning Champions League football. Tottenham have also shown interest in the striker who didn’t get much of a chance during Euro 2012, but no UCL football means less of chance. In any case, at the moment Juve are the only team negotiating a deal with Bilbao.

Juve have been searching for a striker all summer, chasing Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic. Nothing materialized into more than offer suggestions over the media pages, leaving the club with something around €20 million to spend on a goalscorer, hoping to find their answer in Llorente, not satisfied with just Alessandro Matri as a true striker.

Bilbao in general are struggling to retain their best players this summer, including Javi Martinez who is chased by Bayern Munich among others, although the German club is rumored to be very close to striking a deal for the Centre back/midfielder, with some even saying that a press conference that announces his departure from Spain to Germany will be called very soon.