Arsenal are reportedly closing in on the signing of Spanish striker Fernando Llorente from Serie A giants Juventus on a temporary basis, according to reports in Independent.
Arsene Wenger is keen on strengthening the club’s strike force in the January window with a loan deal for Juventus striker Llorente in an effort to maintain their Premier League title lead for the remainder of the season.
The report suggests that the Gunners have already begun talks with the Italian champions Juventus over a loan for the Spaniard, who has seen his first team opportunities somewhat limited due to the availability of Carlos Tevez, Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic.
Wenger’s priority in the winter transfer window remains to capture a marquee striker after moves for Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic and Wayne Rooney all fell through last summer, while the Gunners were also unable to agree a last-ditch loan deal for Chelsea’s Demba Ba.
Arsenal scouted Llorente earlier in the summer and were interested in signing him but he chose to move to Juventus on a free transfer. The Gunners will now prefer a loan move as they continue to look for more long term options and may not want to make a big signing if they are already cup tied for the Champions League.
Llorente has proven in the past he is an excellent striker and has plenty of experience playing 333 games for Athletic Bilbao and scoring 118 goals. He also has 22 caps for the Spanish national team. He has just played in eight Serie A matches this season averaging just over 50 minutes per game, playing the full 90 minutes just once so far. He has come on as a sub three times and taken off four times, leaving him frustrated which will most likely lead him to miss next year’s World cup with Spain.
A swoop for Llorente would send a message that Arsenal are intent on remaining at the top of the Premier League after such a strong start. With Nicklas Bendtner disappointing so far without regular gametime, he’s hardly going to become the top forward we crave. The unproven Yaya Sanogo is not yet breaking into the first team, so a striker is high on Arsene Wenger’s shopping list in January. His acquisition would not only improve the depth in the striking department but will also give the Frenchman a valuable Plan B in the tactical stakes.
A loan deal in January would be just perfect for Arsenal as they wouldn’t need to spend big money considering teams will be reluctant to let their players leave halfway through the current season, forcing potential the transfer fees up. The deal will also suit all parties allowing Juventus to clear an expensive name off their hearty wage-bill, Llorente to potentially play regular football and the Gunners to solve their striking dilemma should Giroud suffer an injury.
The Spaniard scored a nice headed effort against Madrid last night to equalize the match 2-2, so he’s still got it despite lacking regular first team action.
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