Will Arsene Really Replace With Fernando & Trigger £28M Release Clause?
Barring a huge U-turn, Robin van Persie will leave Arsenal this summer.
If Arsene Wenger’s job wasn’t hard enough in a bid to bridge the gap between the Gunners and the Manchester teams, the French manager now has to go about finding a replacement for his star striker and skipper.
According to the Daily Mail, that replacement could just be Spain’s Fernando Llorente
With van Persie such a unique player for the Gunners, possessing unbelievable skill yet also the ability to play as a lone striker and hold the ball up, Wenger will be looking for a centre forward to hold up play and complement new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal believes that the 27-year-old Llorente has the physical attributes to make the transfer to the more physical English game. The Spaniard scored 28 goals for Athletic Bilbao last season, including two against Manchester United in the Europa League where they eventually reached the final. With a transfer clause of £28 million in his contract, Arsenal will be hoping to use a significant sum of van Persie’s fee to capture his replacement.
Yet despite Llorente certainly being a strong physical specimen who can certainly score goals, there is no escaping the fact that he is second choice for Arsenal. With only 90 goals in 236 appearances during his 7 years with Bilbao, Llorente has only just found form this past season – Arsenal fans may worry that this simply may be a one year wonder performance from the striker and not something that will transfer into the Premier League.
Furthermore, despite being chosen to represent Spain in the Euro 2012 squad Llorente did not feature throughout the tournament with Sevilla’s Negredo picked ahead of him. Whilst some may say that this is simply due to the hoards of talent that Spain possess, we must remember that David Villa was injured and Fernando Torres certainly short of form.
Surely Vicente del Bosque’s decision to play 6 midfielders rather than start the Bilbao forward must say something about his reputation and rank amongst the Spanish side.
In Llorente, Arsenal will not be replacing van Persie with a starting international striker. He is certainly second choice behind the highly regarded Pole Robert Lewandowski, also a target for Spurs and Chelsea, yet the price tag of £35 million place on his head by Borrussia Dortmund is certainly out of Arsenal’s reach.
Arsenal will have to fork out the majority of what they earn from the deal for Robin van Persie to lure Llorente from Spain. In my mind, it is simply not worth the money – the Gunners have already invested funds in Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, whilst Llorente is no better than what the Gunners already have in Nicklas Bendter.
The pressure is on for Arsene Wenger to replace his skipper. Yet if he has sense, the Frenchman won’t react too quickly with Llorente and pace himself to find the solution he truly desires.