Llorente wants to leave Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia has admitted that star striker Fernando Llorente wants to leave the club.
The Spaniard’s contract runs out next summer and he has not agreed sign a new deal with the Basque Country side.
Llorente had a superb season last time out, scoring 28 goals across all competitions. This form helped Bilbao to the Europa and Copa Del Rey final but now he is in search of new club.
His performances also earned him a spot in Spain’s European Championship winning squad.
It is being suggested that the 27-year-old wants a move to play Champions League football and win titles as he is in the peak of his career at the moment, so wants to play at the highest level.
Urrutia said: “He told us that after the European Championships he would let us know and ten days ago I received a call and his agents told me that there was no financial reason for him to continue (with Athletic), but what was even more important for him was to have the guarantee of challenging for championships and success.
“I let him know how disappointed I was but he told me the decision was final.”
Llorente has a €36million release clause in his contract and Bilbao are not prepared to sell for anything less than this.
Juventus have apparently opened talks with the striker over a possible €16 million move but this comes way short of the La Liga side’s valuation.
However, Bilbao will know that their leading goal scorer from last season could leave for nothing next year, something they would surely not want to happen so they may have to lower their asking price.
This statement from the club is likely to grab the attention of plenty of clubs around Europe though as Llorente a very highly-rated front man.
By Tom Rooney