Search

Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea target to quit Bilbao

18:02 04 December 2012

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente. Photo credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

Transfer news: Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea will be among a host of European club that have been put on red alert after Spain striker Fernando Llorente today confirmed he plans to leave Athletic Bilbao when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old turned down the offer of a new deal and said he wanted to move on over the summer, but the Basque outfit refused to negotiate with potential suitors and hoped to change the player’s mind.

However, Llorente, who has spent a large chunk of the current Primera Division season on the bench due to the issue, today announced at a press conference that his decision was final.

“Yes, I’m leaving on June 30,” he said. “I want to try other things.”

Asked whether his decision was irreversible, he replied: “Yes. I made it when I played my first match at San Mames in the Europa League (against Slaven Koprivnica on August 2).”

Llorente - Athletic’s top scorer last term with 17 league goals - said the press were partly to blame for his departure, accusing them of turning sections of the club’s fans against him.

“Let it be clearly stated - it is not an economic issue,” he said. “Athletic’s offer was irresistible.

“The press has not really helped my renewal. It is one of the reasons that bad feeling has been generated towards me on the field (from the fans), and that’s what has prompted me to not renew. That, along with many other things.

“You (the media) have not helped because most of what has come out in the press has been lies, but people have tipped the balance against me.

“That has come out on the field, with people blowing their whistles. It is (only) a section that wants me out, I respect that. I feel loved by most of the Athletic fans.”

Athletic could, of course, opt to cash in on their prize asset in the January transfer window rather than lose him for free next summer.

Llorente’s announcement will put some of Europe’s top clubs on alert, with the 6ft 5in forward having reportedly attracted the attention of numerous sides also including Juventus, Manchester City and Liverpool in the past.

Whenever he departs, and wherever he ends up, the player has vowed to give his all to Bilbao before he leaves.

“I feel the support of my colleagues - that is very important,” he said. “I will prove that I am with them to the death.”

Llorente, a product of the Athletic youth academy, made his senior debut in January 2005 and has since become a key man for the club, as well as winning both the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

However, he has started only one game and scored only one goal in the Primera Division for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season.

“What has come around is hurting us and does not sit well with us,” he added. “We try to work hard every week to get it right and get goals and wins.

“I am not thinking about anything more than being prepared to play each game here until June 30, when my contract finishes.

“What happens next... you will ask me, but I am not going to say anything because I am focused on the team. I have had chats with Bielsa, but they will remain between him and me.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino says he felt compelled to confirm his commitment to Tottenham to prove to the club’s current stars and prospective signings that he will be staying at White Hart Lane.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista celebrates Danny Welbeck's winner against Norwich

Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino hopes to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United and create his own legacy at Tottenham after announcing he has agreed a two-year contract extension.

Dele Alli (right) appeared to punch West Bromwich Albion's Claudio Yacob during Monday's 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane and has been banned for three games

Dele Alli will continue to take part in training until the end of the season, even though he cannot play for Tottenham, to maintain his fitness ahead of this summer’s Euro 2016 Championship.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has announced he has verbally agreed a two-year contract extension at Tottenham, extending his stay at White Hart Lane until 2021.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe  (back row, centre) visited Haringey Police Boxing Club on Tottenham High Road. Pic: Dieter Perry

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe visited Haringey Police Boxing Club to meet a contingent of fighters who are hoping to compete in the Haringey Box Cup in June.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla of Arsenal (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Although they spurned the chance to win the league title, Arsenal Under-21s still have a chance to reach the top tier of second-string football via the play-offs.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
James Harris in action for Middlesex

Middlesex seamer James Harris feels squad rotation is essential if the club are to successfully negotiate a punishing schedule during the coming weeks.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe