Both north London clubs are interested in signing the Spain international in the new year.
Tottenham Hotspur have shifted their striking focus away from Manchester United front man Javier Hernandez towards unused Juventus centre-forward Fernando Llorente after being priced out of a move for the prolific Mexico international by the Premier League champions.
The north London club have made the addition of a top-quality marksman their absolute number one priority for when the winter transfer window finally opens once again for business for the year in January.
Despite spending millions of pounds on a whole host of big-name recruits during the recent summer transfer window following wide man Gareth Bale’s world-record 100 million euro move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, the one area of the team that has been malfunctioning since the start of the new campaign is the attack, with goals having so far been hard to come by at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas did splash out a whopping £26m in order to bring Spain international Roberto Soldado to the capital from Liga side Valencia in a club-record deal, but the forward has struggled of late to hit the target for Spurs and was replaced by Englishman Jermain Defoe for their last Premier League fixture, the shock 3-0 home defeat to arch-rivals West Ham United.
However as a result of that painful reverse, the Portuguese has now used the current international break to hold discussions with director of football Franco Baldini about the possibility of signing a new world-class striker with a real eye for goal in the new year in order to help the club in their push for a top-four finish in the Premier League come the end of this season, and with it a place in the Uefa Champions League.
And it was during the meeting that Baldini put forward the name of Llorente as a possible answer to the north Londoners’ current dearth of goals, with the Italian’s many outstanding connections back in Serie A having already tipped him off about the forward’s current unhappiness in Turin, and so the chance of bringing the player to the Premier League at the turn of the year.
Llorente only joined the ‘Old Lady of Italian Football’ on a free transfer in July, with the Spaniard moving to the Serie A champions on a four-year deal from Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao, however, it has not quite gone to according to plan for the 28-year-old in Italy in the mean time.
In total, Llorente has appeared in just four league matches for Juve so far in this campaign, finding the back of the net on just the one occasion in a 2-1 home win against Hellas Verona FC last month, although the front man has been scoreless for his new club in all other competitions.
As a result, Llorente has recently found himself dropped from the Italians’ starting lineup by manager Antonio Conte, who has instead favoured former United and Argentina international Carlos Tevez in attack of late, a move that has since led to mounting speculation about the Basque’s future at the club.
Originally, though, it was Tottenham’s north London neighbours Arsenal who were believed to be the only club interested in bringing to an end Llorente’s brief and unhappy spell in Turin, with the Gunners reportedly keen on bringing the forward to the Emirates on a loan deal in the January transfer window, with a view to the club possibly then buying the player permanently at the end of the campaign if the move proved successful for both parties.
And with Llorente known to be desperate to quit Juventus in the search of regular first-team football at another team in order to keep alive his now fading dream of going to next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil with the defending champions Spain, it was thought that Arsenal were on the verge of finalising a short-term move for the player, with preliminary talks having already taken place between the two respective clubs, as well as the Gunners and Llorente’s representatives.
However, the whole picture has now changed following the recent entry into discussions for the attacker by Spurs after Baldini was advised that were the club to offer to sign the player from the Serie A giants outright in the new year without the need of a six-month loan, then they would be in pole position to hijack their city rivals’ planned swoop for Llorente.
All of which means that Villas-Boas is now pondering whether or not to instruct Baldini and Levy to approach Juve with an offer to take the unwanted marksman off their hands in January for a cut-price fee of £10m, a proposal that the Italians are believed to be willing to accept, even though they only bought Llorente last summer and the forward has a contract with the ‘Old Lady’ that runs until June 30 2017.