When Fernando Llorente was still with Athletic Bilbao, he attracted a lot of attention. At one stage, following a particularly impressive performance against Manchester United in the Europa League, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs were all lining up to buy him.
That year, during the 2011/12 season, he played 53 games and scored 29 goals. I think it’s fair to say that this was the season where he broke big and announced himself on the European stage.
But in truth, he’d been providing the goods for a number of years before that. In 2010/11, he scored 19 goals in 41 games. The year before that he scored 23 in 51. And the year before that he scored 18 goals in 43 games.
In other words, during the last half-decade or so, you could more or less rely on the Athletic forward to score a goal every two games.
He did, however, slip up last season, only scoring 5 goals in 36 games. This was largely due to a lack of faith from his manager, who knew that he would be leaving the club during at the end of the year and thus often used him as a back up for Aduriz.
In the end, Llorente’s Bilbao contract ran down and he ended up moving to Juventus on a free transfer. It looked like Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and co. had lost their opportunity to sign the Spanish centre-forward.
But perhaps that isn’t the case. Since joining Juve, the 28-year-old has found himself stuck behind Carlos Tevez and Mirko Vucinic in the pecking order. There’s a good chance he’s going to struggle for game time this season.
This should provide impetus for one of the aforementioned Premier League clubs to move in for Llorente.
Of the three mentioned, it’s surely Arsenal who need him most.
Arsene Wenger signed Mesut Ozil this summer, providing a significant boost to the Gunner’s midfield. What they really need, however, is another top striker to compete with Olivier Giroud for a spot upfront.
At the moment, Giroud is the Gunners only out-and-out centre-forward. Should he get injured, or go through a dip in form, Arsenal could be in some trouble.
But if they can make it to the January transfer window and sign a top quality striker like Fernando Llorente, they could well be title contenders.
I’d argue that Llorente made a bad career decision when he moved to Juventus. Signing for Arsenal, however, who are light on options upfront and strong on creativity, would be an excellent choice.
What’s your take? Should Arsenal go in for Fernando Llorente?
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