First Llorente then Walcott: Juventus plot double Arsenal blow
Juventus are hoping to land a double blow on Arsenal in January by signing Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente before turning their attentions to Theo Walcott, according to British press reports.
Llorente is expected to attract major attention when the transfer window reopens in the new year, and considering his contract expires at the end of the season, will move for a cut-price fee in January or - under the Bosman ruling - will be free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Spain.
And Juventus, in their desperate need for a top-class centre-forward, have made the 27-year-old Spain international their top priority and are hopeful of beating rival bidders to his signature.
One of those rivals is thought to be Arsenal, who have been interested in Llorente for some time, but have seen previous bids rejected when Bilbao considered the striker an indispensible asset.
The chance to sign the Spaniard in a bargain deal will appeal to Arsene Wenger, but it seems Juve are currently in the driving seat.
Reports in Italy claim the Serie A champions will offer Llorente a whopping £145,000 a week deal; a salary Arsenal will not be able to match.
And according to this morning's Daily Mirror, Juve will not stop there. The daily newspaper claims the Bianconeri will also take advantage of Walcott’s ongoing contract situation by offering the England winger a mega-money switch to Italy.
Juve have kept a close eye on Walcott ever since he entered the last year of his deal, and after the 23-year-old rejected an improved £75,000 a week contract, the Italians are reportedly growing more confident that they can make him a tempting – and highly-lucrative – offer to ditch the Premier League for Serie A.
Wenger maintains, as he has in the past, that he is confident Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal.
He said: “They [talks] are going on, but there is no news about that. My determination has always been the same, to extend his contract. That other clubs are interested or not, the determination is the same.”