Fernando Llorente Transfer Ruled Out by Juventus Amid Arsenal Reports

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 05:  Fernando Llorente of Juventus celebrates scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Juventus and Real Madrid at Juventus Arena on November 5, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Juventus have ruled out the possibility of Fernando Llorente leaving Turin after reports in Italy suggested Arsenal could be lining up a January move for the Spanish forward.

General director Giuseppe Marotta denied the suggestion that the recently acquired player could exit, as reported by Tuttosport and via Sky Sports:

The player is not for sale, he has never been for sale, and he remains with us.

There is great confidence in the boy, he is reaching top condition. We are very happy with him and with his progress.

Llorente has failed to improve upon his excellent 2011-12 season with Athletic Bilbao—a campaign that saw the Basque club lose both the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals.

His relationship with former manager Marcelo Bielsa soured thereafter, ensuring Llorente was repeatedly overlooked during his last season at the San Mames Stadium.

As reported by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN, the powerful striker even walked out of training after being forced to practice with the club's reserve and youth ranks.

Llorente initially struggled to settle into Italian life and managed just one goal in six appearances for the Bianconeri, per WhoScored.com.

The 28-year-old has been afforded greater opportunities in recent weeks, though, and has begun to highlight his qualities with a well-taken goal in both of Juve’s Champions League showdowns against Real Madrid.

His equalising header in the recent 2-2 draw suggested the 6'4" striker is ready to knuckle down and show the Juventus Stadium exactly why he was part of Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.

Arsene Wenger has money to spend on a striker in January, reported by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. The Arsenal boss only has Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner at his disposal right now—an obvious weakness in a Gunners squad that is thin on the ground.

Wenger has been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa in recent times, per Gary Jones of the Daily Star. Metro also suggests Karim Benzema could be subject to an Emirates bid as the manager looks to ready his squad for an assault on the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal is challenged by Barry Bannan of Crystal Palace during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun B
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

If Arsenal's reported targets are to be examined, it's obvious Wenger is looking for a powerful forward to help the team retain possession in attack.

Despite an excellent start to the season by Giroud, the Frenchman needs someone to share the responsibility of holding possession up in attacking areas.

Llorente would have been ideal, possessing good ball control to complement his towering frame. Now it seems Wenger will have to look elsewhere.