Arsenal 'target' Fernando Llorente agrees to join Juventus
Spain international had been linked with move to the Premier League
Thursday 24 January 2013
Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has agreed to join Juventus on a four-year contract at the end of the season.
The Spain international, whose deal with Athletic expires at the end of June, will become a Juve player on July 1st.
A statement on juventus.com read: "Juventus can confirm that Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente will join the club on July 1, 2013.
"The 27-year-old has agreed terms on a four-year deal and will move to Turin when his Athletic Bilbao contract expires at the end of the current season."
In November, Llorente announced his decision to leave the club where he has spent nine seasons since graduating from the academy.
Amid reported interest from a host of Barclays Premier League clubs including Tottenham, Serie A champions Juventus publicly entered talks with Llorente at the start of January.
Llorente has made 334 appearances for Athletic, scoring 104 goals in all competitions, with his best return coming during the 2011-12 campaign when his 29 goals helped the Basque outfit to the Copa del Rey and Europa League finals.
His prolific record at San Mames has also earned Llorente international recognition. He has scored seven goals in 21 appearances for Spain and was included in the squads that won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship.
Llorente has been used sparingly by Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa since declaring his intention to leave, but his lack of activity has not dissuaded Juve, who currently lead the Serie A table by five points in their bid to retain the title.
Despite their dominance, Bianconeri boss Antonio Conte has struggled to forge an effective strikeforce from a pool of Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella, Sebastian Giovinco and Alessandro Matri, with on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner failing to make an impact due to injury.
Today's announcement cools speculation that Juve were prepared to pay Athletic to release Llorente early, with both Didier Drogba of Shanghai Shenhua and Lyon's Lisandro Lopez being targeted as short-term solutions to the club's lack of firepower.
Latest in Sport
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger reveals: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players'
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show