Is Fernando Llorente back on the market?

Athletic Bilbao

The Athletic Bilbao striker had looked close to agreeing a move to Juventus, but there are indications the Italian club are losing patience with the deal, and Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal could be ready to pounce.

Fernando Llorente was always likely to be one of the big targets of the transfer window, so when it seemed certain that he had agreed a mov0e to Juventus barely days into January, there were several clubs who were no doubt left disappointed by the decision.

However there might be a small chance that the Spanish striker is about to become available once again, as despite being in negotiations for the past couple of weeks, Juventus have yet to finalise a deal for the striker. The next few days will be vital to the success of that deal, with reports from Italy suggesting that the Serie A champions have made a final take-it-or-leave-it £3 million offer to Bilbao.

No one knows exactly what Bilbao are holding out for, as Llorente can leave on a free in the summer and has had little impact on the pitch for them this season, but they are making negotiations difficult for Juventus. With this in mind, Juventus have stepped up their pursuit of other targets, perhaps confident they could then sign Llorente in the summer anyway.

Didier Drogba, CIro Immobile and Lisandro Lopez have both been consistently linked with a move to Turin, and Jvuentus certainly need to strengthen their attack if they are to defend their Serie A title and progress in the later stages of the Champions League. If the Llorente deal looks impossible, they will need to have time to work on these other transfers, and this might be why they are prepared to pull out of negotiations with Bilbao for now.

If they do withdraw from the deal, then there will be plenty of teams prepared to take their place in trying to sign Llorente. The Spanish striker has been linked with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur for some years now, and they would be likely to try and pick up a bargain this January.

Even at twice the reported price Juventus have offered, Llorente would be a steal compared with the £27 million moves he has been linked with in the past.

Although he is available on a free in the summer, you would expect that some teams would be prepared to pay a fee now to ensure they get their man, and if Juventus really are prepared to walk away from the deal, then Llorente could be the subject of the bidding war that was expected this January.

image: © birasuegi

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