Liverpool favourites for Llorente as Rodgers plots January move
Liverpool are regarded as the favourites to sign Fernando Llorente and could swoop for the Athletic Bilbao star in January, according to Spanish media reports.
Llorente is considered one of the finest attacking talents in Europe given his goal-scoring exploits for Bilbao in recent years. The 27-year-old Spain international has netted over 20 times in each of the past three seasons to gain a reputation as one of the most prolific forwards in football.
There is always a huge amount of media speculation swirling around Llorente and considering his current Bilbao contract is due to expire at the end of the season, that will not stop any time soon.
Due to the Bosman ruling, Llorente will be free to discuss his options with other clubs in January if he does not pen a new contract, which appears unlikely.
And there is sure to be a huge amount of interest at the possibility of signing one of Europe’s top strikers either for a minimal fee in January or on a free next summer.
Serie A champions Juventus have been constantly linked as have European champions Chelsea and Premier League winners Manchester City.
But according to Spanish daily AS, Liverpool are currently the frontrunners for Llorente’s signature and are keen to thrash out a deal in January in order to provide a much-needed boost to their forward options.
The Reds have started the season in disappointing form, failing to win any of their first four matches for the first time in over a century. Their profligacy in front of goal has been a major factor in their poor results, and manager Brendan Rodgers is reportedly keen to address the problem as quickly as possible.
Llorente recently admitted that is ready to listen to offers in January, all but signaling his intent to leave Bilbao at the end of the season.
“I cannot guarantee that I will still be at Athletic in 2013,” he told Spanish radio.
“In January I am free to talk and I will consider all my options.”
If Liverpool successfully lure Llorente to Anfield, it would all but seal the fate of Andy Carroll; currently on-loan at West Ham after being informed by Rodgers that he was not part of his future plans.