Athletic Club to offer Fernando Llorente early exit from Tottenham
Llorente's contract expires next summer but the Spanish side are keen to sign the striker in January
The Spanish striker’s contract expires next summer and so he can negotiate a Bosman deal with foreign clubs from January, but Athletic’s presidential elections are likely to bring forward the prospect of a move, with presidential candidates already sounding out the player over a return and elections scheduled for December 27.
Jose Urrutia, president in Bilbao for nearly eight years, announced this week that he will not run for another term and thus potential successors must now try to find vote-winning promises. A January return for Llorente is seen as one of the easier moves to revive a season that has been disappointing, while Ander Herrera’s situation is being monitored.
Join Independent Minds
For exclusive articles, events and an advertising-free read for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a month
Get the best of The Independent
With an Independent Minds subscription for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a month
And with Llorente having already opened the door for a return to his boyhood club, it only remains to be seen how much Spurs would stand in his way.
“I've been away from home for many years,” Llorente told reporters after Tottenham's 2-1 Champions League victory over PSV Eindhoven.
“I’d love to go back to La Liga.”
Llorente, 33, began his career with Athletic, playing over 250 games for the club before falling out with manager Marcelo Bielsa in 2012 and refusing to sign a new contract.
He would eventually leave for Juventus, where he struggled for games and moved to Sevilla and Swansea before arriving at Spurs as an alternative to Harry Kane.
Llorente has yet to start a game in the Premier League this season though and made just a single league start last year despite signing for £12m.
While he set up a goal for Harry Kane in the Champions League this week during a brief substitute appearance, the former Spanish international made clear that he is looking for more regular action.
“I came on and things went well, so I'm happy to have helped the team,” he added.
“I hope I continue to have opportunities, it's important for me because it gives me the confidence to keep working.
”It's not easy when you do not play because mentally you have to be very strong to continue training hard.