January Transfer Window: Juventus Target Fernando Llorente Will Be Moved

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 4:  Fernando Llorente of Athletic Club in action during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between AC Sparta Praha and Athletic Club held on October 4, 2012 at the Stadion Letna in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Michal Cizek/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Earlier this week the Guardian reported that Fernando Llorente, Juventus' number one priority when the transfer market opens in January, would be leaving Athletic Bilbao at the end of the season.

This news put a lot of fans on the edge of their seats. So far, it had looked like Llorente would join the Bianconeri in January and would be good to go by the time the UEFA Champions League's round of 16 kicked off.

Juventus seemed to be in the driver's seat for his signature, as his agent had already come out and said his client wanted to join Juve when the transfer window opened (per FourFourTwo.com).

So does this latest report doom the chances of the Spanish international joining the Bianconeri in January?

No. Quite the contrary, really.

This statement from Llorente isn't about informing the fans he'll be leaving. It's a power play, forcing Bilbao into a sale during the winter break.

Llorente's contract runs out at the end of the season, and Bilbao are well aware that he won't be re-signing. If the club is hoping to get any return on the player, they will have to sell in January.

With three weeks to go before the winter-frenzy starts off, Llorente is reminding Bilbao of just this fact. He's telling everyone there is no way he'll be representing the Spanish side next season, and as a result, Bilbao will be forced into selling their asset now or watching him walk in June.

And with the current economic climate of Spanish football, that's not a hard choice to make. Llorente has been relegated to the bench this season and has produced diddly-squat for Bilbao. There is no point in sitting him another six months when he could leave in January for a nice sum.

Transfermarkt.co.uk currently values Llorente at 30 million euros, but with the player becoming a free agent in June, the fee needed to acquire him from Bilbao will most likely be between six and ten million.

While that might look like a bargain for a top striker and World Champion, it's better than nothing.

Rest assured Bianconeri fans, this latest report isn't something to be worried about. Bilbao have no reason not to sell Llorente, and all this latest development does is remind the Spanish side of that fact.