Chelsea Turn Attention to £23.3m Spanish International Fernando Llorente as Blues Continue Striker Hunt

Stamford Bridge side target Athletic Bilbao forward.

Having been closely linked to a number of potential striker signings, Chelsea are lining up a bid for La Liga forward Fernando Llorente. Roberto Di Matteo has earmarked a move for the Athletic Bilbao man after lengthy discussions with owner Roman Abramovich and technical director Michael Emanelo.

Chelsea have apparently been looking for a replacement for Didier Drogba for some weeks and have reportedly made moves, speculative or actual bids, for Brazilian international Hulk, Napoli star Edinson Cavani and Newcastle United’s Demba Ba, but as yet the Blues have not secured a striker signing this summer.

Llorente has been a consistent goal-scoring force in La Liga for the past four seasons, scoring a dozen plus in each of term, and managed a career best 29 in 2011/12 in all competitions and has arguably outgrown Athletic Bilbao and would presumably be tempted by a move to the Premier League. Chelsea are said to be ready to trigger for the prolific forward’s €30m (£23.3m) release clause.

His willingness to leave San Mames may be triggered further by the fact that Llorente’s side slumped to a disappointing 10th place finish last term and the 3-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League Final must have crushed the Pamplona forward.

Fernando Llorente may also feel that a high profile move would assist his chances of securing a regular spot in Vicente del Bosque’s Spanish national team starting eleven having spent the entire Euro 2012 finals sat on the bench.

Roberto Di Matteo will be aware that despite Llorente’s height, the Spaniard standing 6ft 5in tall, he does have the ability on the deck to go with his obvious aerial prowess and his build may well lend itself to life in the physical cauldron of the English top tier.

Fernando Torres has failed to make an impact over the course of his 18 months at Chelsea and Daniel Sturridge doesn’t appear to feature all that highly in Di Matteo’s thoughts, the England man not making the Blues starting eleven for both Barcelona Champions League semi-final encounter as well as both the FA Cup and Champions League Finals. Therefore a move for a new striker seems inevitable and Llorente may well be the right man for the job.

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