Old Trafford boss lines up clever deal.
Manchester United ‘eye Fernando Llorente on free transfer’
Manchester United are formulating plans to sign Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente on a free transfer, according to reports in Spain.
Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson was keen to land the 27-year-old earlier in the summer, but was not prepared to match the Basque club’s £35 million asking price.
Ferguson has not given up on Llorente and now hopes to take advantage of his contract situation, reports Spanish newspaper Sport.
He has just 12 months remaining on his current deal and, if he is unable to finalise terms for an extension with Athletic, United apparently plan to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with him in January.
Should the talks be successful, the Spain international would move to Old Trafford on a free transfer in the summer of 2013, in return for a £140,000-a-week salary package.
Well this could well be a very clever bit of business by Sir Alex Ferguson, though one would imagine a number of other clubs could be set to attempt a similar move for the Athletic Bilbao forward.
Fernando Llorente, like one or two of his fellow team-mates, may well have outgrown his San Mames side who last term fell to a tenth place finish and a move to Old Trafford would surely tempt the Spanish international. Indeed the 27 year old may feel that a high profile move would not only help him to challenge for major honours but perhaps help the Pamplona born forward to challenge for a spot in Vicente del Bosque’s starting eleven.
Llorente didn’t play a single minute of the Euro 2012 finals and watched on as the likes of Fernando Torres and Alvaro Negredo at least registered some playing time in a Spain side that did at times play without any recognised strikers.
Man United released Michael Owen and appear ready to sell Dimitar Berbatov for the right price and given that Javier Hernandez appears to have suffered from ‘second-season syndrome’ Ferguson may well feel their is a need to bring in another attacking option.
The chance to sign a player of Llorente’s obvious quality and potential, 90 goals over the past four seasons, on a free transfer is seemingly too good an opportunity to miss out on.
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