Daily Archives: October 13, 2013
Fernando Llorente or “El Rey Leon” (the Lion King) as he’s known in Basque, was once a feared striker in European Football in his Athletic Bilbao days. Breaking through the ranks in his early days at Athletic Bilbao, Llorente rose to prominence when he scored five goals for the Spanish Under-20 side in the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. He was slowly introduced into the Bilbao setup and as the seasons went by, Llorente became an indispensable player to the Basque-based outfit. The goals kept piling up for the forward and he was courted by the predators of world football.
The Europa League run of the 2011/12 season saw Bilbao cause a shocker at Old Trafford with Llorente netting in both games as the Basque team went all the way to the finals before being utterly destroyed by Radamel Falcao and Atletico Madrid. With the likes of Llorente alongside Iker Muniain, Ander Herrara and co., Bilbao also reached the Copa del Rey final and lost to Barcelona.
At the start of last season, Llorente had a year left on his deal and had the option of leaving on a Bosman, so Bilbao swiftly set things in motion for a new deal but the forward declined the offer, fueling speculation that he was on his way out. Things went from bad to worse as Llorente got involved in a bust-up with his manager and he walked out on training forcing the club to take drastic action.
Following a free transfer to Serie A defending champions, Juventus, Llorente enjoyed a dream debut with a goal in the 2-1 win over Hellas Verona.
However, he was contending with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco and as time went by Llorente found himself down the pecking order. With Spain boasting of a squad with vast attacking talent like David Villa, Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, Miguel Michu and Fernando Torres, Llorente’s chances of featuring in next summer’s World Cup would be slim to none if he doesn’t get a consistent run of games, scoring goals as well.
According to the Guardian, Arsenal has lined up Llorente as a short-term target in the January transfer window, following failed pursuits of Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez. With Olivier Giroud currently serving as Arsenal’s alpha-dog in attack, the Gunners can only look to a resurgent Nicklas Bendtner and the relatively inexperienced duo of Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom as alternatives.
In my honest opinion, Llorente is a Giroud-esque striker that plays as a target man, offering a focal point in attack, aerial presence, linking up play, holding up the ball and scoring goals, which is currently what Giroud is doing perfectly well at Arsenal.
There was a period when I would have ran nuts for Arsenal to sign the lad but at this point in time, the Gunners should be going a Suarez-like attacker that offers a different dimension rather than the one-dimensional Llorente that’s no different from Giroud.
Some would firmly believe that Llorente is a better back-up option than the Great Dane but Soccergunz has made a case for Bendtner and trust me, it’s worth a read.
It’s really sad to see how Llorente’s career has began in Juventus and he has clearly seen that the grass is not greener on the other side.
I’m pretty sure that Gooners would have different opinions about the lad’s potential move to the club, so feel free to share yours with your comments.
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