The Bull from the Basque, well, he isn’t actually called that. But he should be.
Fernando Llorente’s real nickname is ‘The Lion King’ and the Athletic Bilbao striker has exploded over the last two years. He scored almost a goal every other game (the Steve Moore watermark for finishing) last year, finishing with 23 in 50 games and has started with six in eight this year.
While the 25-year old was doing that at club level, he has quickly become a part of the Spanish National set-up, going to the 2010 World Cup and although he only played 30minutes in the entire competition he has become a vital component in the Euro 2012 Qualifying Campaign. He gave the Spanish the lead twice against Lithuania in a 3-1 and in a very British-style, ‘we’re in a hole, throw the big man on’ kind of way, came off the bench to score the winner at Hampden Park.
The 6”5 striker is everything Kevin Davies would have been if he had grown up in Spain. Big, strong like an ox, built like a brick out house and great in the air. The difference is that he has the skill and finishing to match.
No wonder the big clubs are sniffing round him like predatory birds. If Gareth Bale is potentially going to leave a Champions League side to join a ‘bigger club’, then Llorente, who plays for a mid-table club who, because of the self-imposed ‘Basque’ policy, will probably always be a mid-table side, is going to be poached at any minute.
The goals against Lithuania and Scotland have made Llorente the current Spanish media darling and with that comes the expected rumours about whether it’ll be Barcelona or Real that he signs for. However, the Premiership clubs are hunting him too.
Liverpool appears to be the number one favourites and I can see why. He is sure to remind Roy Hodgson of Bobby Zamora, except with the top four quality that most Kopites are bemoaning Hodgson’s signings lack (despite the fact I think Zamora IS top 4 class).
Meanwhile, the clubs from the other side of the East Lancashire Road are also interested. Sir Alex’s interest was probably because he saw the player he thought he was getting in Dimitar Berbatov and despite the decent form Berbatov showed in the last month, I doubt Ferguson will have seen anything to quell his interest. On top of that, signing Llorente would be a sign to Rooney of United’s transfer intent.
As for City, well, when you have that much money and are struggling, you’re going to be interested in signing anybody!
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