Chelsea’s summer splurging has been a sincere statement of intent, as new faces such as Oscar, Marko Marin and Eden Hazard will have the Stamford Bridge faithful excited ahead of the new season. However, one area that the Blues are thought to be keen to strengthen is at centre forward, with stalwart Didier Drogba leaving the club after eight years for pastures new. Although a raft of different strikers have been touted as the Ivorian’s replacement, surely a move for Fernando Llorente would make sense?
The burly frontman has been a hero in the Basque country over the last number of years, and has been a key reason for Athletic Bilbao’s development into a respected and dangerous attacking side. The 27-year-old has scored over 80 goals for the San Mames outfit, and been rewarded at international level with 20 caps for world champions Spain. However, after spending the entirety of his career at the club, Llorente has made the decision to explore other options.
“Llorente has told us that he does not want to renew his contract with the club,” Bilbao president Josu Urrutia revealed at a press conference recently.
” I can tell all clubs that want to sign one of our players that we are not a selling club. They will have to pay a player’s buy-out clause.”
Juventus are thought to be leading the chase for the targetman, however the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and many others have been linked with a move for Llorente in the recent past. Surprisingly, Chelsea are one club that have not had any real accredited interest in the Spaniard. Whilst the likes of Radamel Falcao, Hulk, Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain, Andre Schurrle and others have all been speculated with a move to west London, Llorente could well be the best option.
Although Roberto Di Matteo is eager to add a creative and expansive element to his new-look Blues side, the direct approach and physical threat of Drogba will surely be missed. Llorente has the stature, work rate and aerial ability to replicate the qualities that saw Drogba lead the side to double success in 2011-12. With Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu and Fernando Torres already at Chelsea Llorente would have compatriots to help him adjust and is certainly suited to the English game. The move makes sense as it would allow Di Matteo to alternate between the pace and threat in-behind of Torres and the aerial and direct approach of Llorente.
The Spaniard will not be short of suitors this summer, but a move to the Premier League has seemingly been in the pipeline for a number of years. Given the circumstances Chelsea looks like an ideal destination, and Llorente could well be the final piece in Roman Abramovich’s jigsaw.