According to a report on CaughtOffside.com, Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has admitted that he can’t guarantee he will be with the Spanish club in 2013 as he continues to consider his future. Llorente was linked with the likes of Manchester United over the summer (source: Metro) and as his contract expires at the end of the current season, he would be available to move to any club he wants as a free agent next summer. As early as January, he would be able to talk to other clubs and potentially sign a pre-contract deal at another club, for whom he could join for no fee in the summer transfer window.
Last month, the 27-year-old refused to extend his current deal with Bilbao but he didn’t join Italian giants Juventus, who CaughtOffside report he was “close” to joining.
Llorente made the announcement about his future to Cadena SER, a Spanish radio station:
“I can not guarantee that I will still be with Athletic in 2013. In January I’m free to talk and I will consider all my options. But I want to forget about that and help the team.
It hurts that people have turned against me. It hurts that they doubt me, I’ve always given everything for Athletic.
Even if at some point in my career I don’t play with Athletic, it will always be my team. It’s personal. The club have given me everything, it’s where I grew up from the time I was a boy.
If for whatever reason I leave here, nobody should be annoyed with me. It’s a personal decision that people should respect.”
Llorente scored 17 goals in 32 La Liga appearances last season and really impressed us here at WhatCulture when Bilbao knocked Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United out of the Europa League. The Euro 2012 winner has missed several games for the club in recent weeks but did return to score in Bilbao’s 3-3 draw against Espanyol this past weekend.
The CaughtOffside report suggests that a host of top clubs across Europe will be interested in the Basque forward but that a move to England seems the most likely outcome.
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