This summer highly-rated Spanish international Fernando Llorente arrived at Juventus on a Bosman transfer - a year after he first expressed a desire to move elsewhere from his Bilbao home.
After a loyal 16 years of service to his boyhood club ‘The Lion King’ wanted to move on and play Champions League football.
If you believed the press at the time and in some cases officials from the clubs who have made their green eyed envy very clear there are several teams leading the chase for the 27-year-old including Premier League sides Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Then there is the interest from Italian side Juventus who desperately need a goalscoring striker to complete their jigsaw.
Now those same teams are being linked with bringing the player in from Juve, just months after he swapped the Basque country for Turin.
But why has he only made a handful of appearances for the Bianconeri?
Last season’s manager at Bilbao Marcelo Bielsa did not take sympathetically to Llorente’s position and refused to play him for vast periods of the season - he even had the Spanish international training with the youth team as punishment for his continued open courting of suitors.
Llorente wanted to leave last term, but Bilbao are notoriously tough negotiators - and were happy to let him leave for nothing rather than sell him at a price they did not feel reflected his quality. In fact Juventus’ continued, and eventually flawed pursuit of the Spaniard, led to them panicking and signing Nicklas Bendtner on loan instead - which ended up working out just perfect for everyone involved, note the sarcasm.
So Llorente ended up playing a lot less minutes then he was used to, often being used as a substitute. For comparison, he played 865 minutes in the 2012-13 La Liga campaign - in 2011-12 he played 2,248, the year before 3,172.
So he is certainly out of condition - and Juventus addressed the situation this week - with this statement:
"There is no Llorente problem. Don't forget that he didn't play that regularly last season. When we sign a player and hand him a four-year contract, we're evidently not looking for immediate results in the space of one or two months. We believe in him and it is too early to judge."
So while Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea - and new names Manchester City and Tottenham would love to snap up this bargain in January the likelihood is he is going nowhere - as in time he should begin to live up to his promise in Turin.
image: © md.faisalzaman