Why Fernando Llorente Needs to Stay and Fight at Juventus
Fernando Llorente is gradually adapting to life in Turin.
The Spaniard has endured a difficult beginning to his Juventus career, with fierce competition for at most two places in the side.
With Carlos Tevez almost guaranteed a start and Paul Pogba's form potentially swaying Antonio Conte towards a one-forward formation, the former Athletic Club striker will have to work hard to win a starting berth.
A turning point was the Champions League opener in Copenhagen when the Bianconeri were chasing a victory, but even with Mirko Vucinic out injured, it was Fabio Quagliarella who started before Sebastian Giovinco replaced the Neapolitan in search of all three points.
It must have been somewhat discouraging to note that Conte needed to throw caution to the wind with attack-minded changes, yet the 28-year-old remained unused.
A lifeline was thrown the way of the Spaniard the following weekend and Llorente started the league clash with Hellas Verona.
Del Bosque "Llorente has great qualities and can do well in any team, even in Juve. He just needs time & patience." - CdS— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) October 3, 2013
The Mastini have adapted superbly to life back in Serie A and posed a stern test for a Juve outfit who had struggled days earlier, but Llorente was a difference maker as he scored on his full debut, demonstrating what he can offer to the team.
In a cameo role versus Galatasaray on Wednesday, Llorente further enhanced his credentials as the Aslan looked to be on their way to a famous victory.
Llorente changed the dynamic of the game, posing a handful for Aurelien Chedjou and Gokhan Zan with his physicality.
The ability to link to the wide areas was also evident and can provide food for thought to Conte as Llorente gradually begins to force the Mister to consider giving him a starring role.
With extra attention given to Llorente, the player was able to hold off the opposition by shielding the ball excellently and feeding Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah at regular intervals—even if the wide pair failed to provide adequate service on a consistent basis.
The Quagliarella strike that appeared to have won the game for the Bianconeri involved Llorente in the build-up—with the striker attracting double marking on the edge of the area, the ball was shifted back out to the deeper, wider areas.
Andrea Pirlo had all the time in the world to take aim and float a wonderful cross that started towards the goal and curled back across the six-yard line for Quagliarella to head home.
That sort of variation to Juve's approach will be highly useful as the season develops and if Llorente can replicate that impact on a regular basis, he will eventually work his way into Conte's plans for the starting line-up.
It is premature to think of an exit for Llorente, potentially a return to La Liga, as he has needed to shake off the rust that was accumulated by a stagnant season spent for the most part on the Athletic bench.
There have been enough signs in the limited opportunities given to the player, however, to suggest he has a bright future at the Juventus Stadium and that he could be a pivotal player for a side that is steadily evolving towards European contention.
Having waited so long for an opportunity at the elite level, Llorente should undoubtedly bide his time a little longer before seizing his chance that will inevitably fall his way.
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