Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente open to Premier League offers

Last Updated: 12/12/12 1:45pm

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Fernando Llorente says he would be interested in a move to one of the Premier League's big boys next summer.

The Athletic Bilbao forward is a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the season and has been heavily linked with a move to Italian giants Juventus.

But speaking on Revista de La Liga, the Spain international said he is a fan of English football and would be open to offers of a switch to the Premier League.

"It is true that we are approaching the date when I can sign for other clubs," Llorente said.

"I'm trying to keep it so that it is something which is managed by my brother and my representatives. That leaves me to focus in my football and help my team, Athletic, and nothing else, maintain focus.

"I really like the Premier League and I've mentioned on more than one occasion that it's a league which appeals to me a lot.

"You never know. It's one good option in terms of my future but we'll have to wait until the end of the season to see what happens."

After failing to agree a new contract with Athletic Bilbao, Llorente would be allowed to start speaking clubs outside Spain from the start of January.

"You never know. It's one good option in terms of my future but we'll have to wait until the end of the season to see what happens."
Fernando Llorente

But he denied that a deal is already in place to sign for Juventus, despite rumours that the Serie A champions would be willing to move for the forward in the winter transfer window.

"No. That's totally untrue," he said.

"I think it's normal that people talk about these things, but ultimately you have to respect the rules.

"I am an Athletic player and, until January 1, I cannot sign with any other team."

Decision

Llorente, who was part of Spain's World Cup and Euro 2012 winning squads, has only made nine league appearances for Bilbao this season after failing to agree a new contract last summer.

But the 27-year-old says he only made his mind up to leave the club when the supporters turned against him following a series of negative press reports.

"I made the decision at the start of the season," he explained.

"We were playing a Europa League qualification game at San Mames and I noticed a significant deterioration in the relationship between the fans and me due to my protracted contract negotiations.

"Everything the press had written about me in the newspapers was pejorative and they succeeded in turning the fans against me.

"It was when I became fully aware of how that situation had affected the supporters that I made the decision.

"Ultimately you have to bear the situation for a long time and you get tired of living like that."

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