Fernando Llorente has reportedly been expelled from training with Athletic Bilbao, fuelling rumours he could be gearing up for a January exit from the club.
El Correo reports that Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa banished Llorente back to the changing rooms from a small practice game between substitutes from their game against Real Sociedad and a number of youth team players after becoming frustrated with the striker’s attitude.
Llorente caused a stir over the summer when he turned down a new contract at the San Mames, but failed to secure a move in the summer transfer window despite his current deal expiring in 12 months time.
The 26-year-old has made just four appearances for Bilbao this season and was jeered by fans after playing in his first home game this season last month.
Llorente has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League having recently admitted he is unlikely to still be with Bilbao next year, and is being reportedly courted by a host of England’s biggest clubs.
Arsenal are the latest club to be linked with a move for the Euro 2012, and could be prepared to make a move in January after manager Arsene Wenger insisted he won’t be afraid to splash the cash when the winter window opens.
The Gunners have recently turned to make-shift forward Gervinho to lead their attack as summer signing Olivier Giroud continues to struggle in front of goal.
North London rivals Tottenham have also been linked with a move for Llorente as they seek to improve their striking options.
Spurs can currently only call up upon Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor to play as out-and-out strikers, and with the former yet to make a start this season, manager Andre Villas-Boas could be in the market for another forward in January.
If either team wants to land their man they may have to beat off interest from Liverpool, who are in desperate need of a striker after letting Andy Carroll leave on loan over the summer without landing a replacement.
New signing Fabio Borini has endured a difficult start to life at Anfield, with Luis Suarez stepping up to lead the line despite his best position being out wide.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is believed to be a fan of the £15 million-rated striker and could well push for a move in January.