Report: Fernando Llorente could be Manchester United's 'mystery striker'

Fernando Llorente

The Spanish international has also been linked with Tottenham, Liverpool and, interestingly, Real Madrid this summer.

Manchester United's "mystery fourth striker" has been on everyone's lips on Tuesday, and the Mirror have unveiled who they believe to be the man set to arrive at Old Trafford this summer.

When Louis van Gaal discussed United's strike force this week he revealed that Wayne Rooney would be used exclusively as an out-and-out forward, with both Javier Hernandez and James Wilson as back up to the England captain.

However, it was his final, almost afterthought comment that has caught the attention of the British media and the United supporters, when the Dutchman added that there could be a mystery fourth member to the club's attacking quota.

"He's in the process,” Sky Sports quote Van Gaal as saying. “It's not the striker that the media has written about. You have to wait and see.

“The transfer period is open until August 31. You have to wait."

Unsurprisingly, that got media outlets in full-on speculation mode, with all manner of attackers dreamt up as a possible arrival at Old Trafford. It was pure transfer window joy, and the kind of comment that would have got United fans excited as if Christmas was around the corner.

But it looks like the Mirror are prepared to make the first genuine attempt to peek inside the wrapping paper a day or two early, as they claimed that the player Van Gaal was discussing is Juventus forward Fernando Llorente.

That may be a name that fails to evoke the kind of excitement many were expecting as a result of all the secrecy, but nevertheless, it is a proven goalscorer who has international experience, as well as experience of moving leagues and still being able to find the net, and United have asked to be "kept informed" of his situation in Italy say the Mirror.

The 30-year-old has been closely linked to both Tottenham and Liverpool this summer by publications such as London 24, who recently suggested the most likely destination for the striker was in fact Real Madrid, something that could lead to more friction between the two European giants.

Having scored 27 goals in 90 games since moving to Turin two seasons ago, the former Athletic Bilbao star has a strong if unspectacular record. Nevertheless, it is clear that at 6'5", Llorente offers something up front that United currently don't have, which is a genuine target man that wouldn't prefer to play in defensive midfield.

Llorente may therefore end up taking Marouane Fellaini's place in that role, though the prospect of both giants on the pitch at the same time will be a frightening prospect for Premier League defences.

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