Fernando Llorente Reportedly Lined Up for Loan Bid by Arsenal

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2013

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reportedly outlined Fernando Llorente as a key target for the January transfer window.

The unsettled Juventus striker—who is taking time to adapt to life in Italy—is being touted for a loan move to the Gunners, as reported by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail:

Arsenal have discussed a January loan move for Juventus forward Fernando Llorente. Despite his side's excellent start to the season, Arsene Wenger remains keen to sign a new striker. And the Gunners are closely monitoring the Spain striker's situation in Turin ahead of a swoop at the start of next year.

A stuttering couple of years have seen Llorente’s progress crash to a halt after his fantastic 2011-12 season with Athletic Bilbao, a year in which the Basque side gained runner-up medals in the Europa League and Copa Del Rey.

Manchester United were among the opponents dispatched by Llorente when he played under Marcelo Bielsa’s guidance. As elite clubs circled, the towering forward refused to sign a new deal and failed to carry out his media duties, per Dermot Corridgan of ESPN.

The Spanish international has managed just two starts and three substitute appearances since moving to Turin in the summer. His only goal remains the winner in the Bianconeri’s 2-1 win over Verona, as recorded by WhoScored.

VERONA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Bostjan Cesar (R) of AC Chievo Verona competes with Fernando Llorente of Juventus during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and Juventus at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on September 25, 2013 in Verona, Italy.  (Phot
Dino Panato/Getty Images

Llorente finds himself behind Carlos Tevez in the pecking order and is currently battling with Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco for a place in Antonio Conte’s side.

Arsenal have an excellent opportunity to take advantage of a situation that would significantly bolster their attacking ranks. Olivier Giroud has performed admirably this season—netting five goals in nine appearances—but the Frenchman needs world-class competition to continue improving.

Additional firepower is also preferable should the 27-year-old suffer any kind of injury throughout the campaign.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - MAY 08:  Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao gestures during the Athletic Bilbao training session ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the National Arena on May 8, 2012 in Bucharest, Ro
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Wenger would be wise to land someone of Llorente’s stature.

His directness, aerial ability and physical prowess is something that has long been missing from the Emirates. With the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla buzzing around behind him, Llorente’s acquisition would not only improve the North London club’s numbers, it would give Wenger a valuable Plan B in the tactical stakes.

Llorente is determined to gain a place in Spain’s squad for next summer’s World Cup, per Mokbel’s report, ensuring the decision to take a chance on El Rey Leon represents both smart and exciting business from the current Premier League leaders.