Reportedly misfit Chelsea and Tottenham target scores on full debut in Serie A

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente put the critics to bed with a goalscoring starting debut for Juventus against Verona today

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 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 along with new interest from Tottenham Hotspur.

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.

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."

But this week, after an impressive week of training Antonio Conte decided to throw him in from the start, his full debut for the club.

And low and behold, he scored. It was a trademark Llorente goal, a classy header from an Arturo Vidal delivery to make the score 2-1, which ended up being the final score.

So the player who was in ‘crisis’ and already contemplating a move gets fit and scores - just like Juventus expected.

Somehow, I cannot see him leaving in January …can you?

image: © md.faisalzaman

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