Here at the Transfer Tavern we love a good tussle over a player, it is even better when footballing rivalries spill over into the transfer market, it just gives everything a bit more edge. Well today we have one of those scenarios as it seems like a group of teams are all going to be moving for Spanish striker Fernando Llorente and one of the newer sides in the frame is Manchester United.
The player was linked to moves away from Athletic Bilbao during the January transfer window, with moves to both Tottenham and Liverpool suggested, but flying under the radar were Manchester United who might be ready to offer a hefty £34million for the striker this Summer.
Llorente joined Bilbao’s youth setup as an 11 year old in 1996 and came up through their ranks playing for both one of their feeder sides and then onto their reserve side before he eventually broke into the first team squad in 2005, he scored a hat trick in only his second game for the side and he went on to make 15 appearances before the end of the season. It was the 2007-2008 season that Llorente managed too concrete his place in the sides first team and he repaid the management with a good goal tally notching up 12 goals. His form has continued to improve and he is now around a 20 goal a season striker in La Liga and he has also impressed on the international stage, having made 13 appearances for his country and scoring 7 goals.
The striker is 6’4 and incredibly powerful in the air. He is a great header of the ball and scores many goals that way, that is not to say he is not an adept finisher with the ball at his feet too. He is strong and holds the ball up well, while there is no denying that most of his good work is done in the penalty area in the style of a traditional number 9, that sort of thing has never stopped other strikers being excellent players in recent years.
The powerful forward would definitely be a good addition to Manchester United, they haven’t really had a similar striker since Van Nistelrooy left the club and with the quality service that he would receive from wide areas I am sure he would prosper. His strength would be a huge asset in the Premier League and the signing could make a mockery of the amount Liverpool played for Andy Carroll who for me is an inferior player to the big Spaniard.
Liverpool had officials fly out to Spain to talk with the club in January (presumably prior to their decision to sign Carroll) but a deal could not be put together. Tottenham as well are thought to be highly interested in the Spanish international, and failed in a bid of £26million in January, however it seems likely they will return for the striker this Summer as they continue to attempt to solve their striker crisis that they are currently suffering.
As well as problems convincing the club to sell, there may also be a few problems convincing the player to move. He recently said:
“I am still looking to Bilbao, where I am very happy, pleased and excited. Every day my team is better, and we want to see if we can continue like this. It is normal for people to speculate about my possible departure, as it is a sign that things are going well….But everyone is tired of this talk. I try to focus on my own game, and nothing more. I can keep working, there is no other way. It’s always good to know, but I mind my own business, and I am trying to keep it that way.”
The cynic in me suggests that the player is just wanting to keep the fans on side prior to a departure this Summer, because how often do we see quotes similar to these just before a player moves? If however that isn’t the case and the player is unsure about a potential move then it would be a shame for Sir Alex Ferguson because I really believe this is a signing that could help the side, whilst he may not be the most skillful player I am sure he would be effective in the United side. I can’t see Liverpool moving for the player now that they signed a Geordie giant, but Harry Redknapp could provide realistic competition for the Powerful forward.
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