Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a potential January transfer blow, with news that striker target Fernando Llorente is not for sale.
The Spanish international hitman has been heavily linked with a move away from Athletic Bilbao, with his contract in the Basque Country set to expire at the end of the season.
That doesn’t mean that last season’s Europa League runners-up will be looking to cash-in on the player however, with club president Jose Urrutia admitting the club are willing to lose the player on a free at the end of the season.
"Llorente will not be going anywhere in the winter transfer market and we will not be signing anyone," he said, according to SkySports.
"We took a decision at the start of the season on economic, sporting and philosophical grounds. Athletic are stronger and more competitive with Fernando in the ranks."
"Over the next few months I do not know if he will see Athletic as his first option but at the moment there is no news. We can only hope that he feels we match his sporting ambitions and that he will stay here."
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was linked with a move for the player in August, but was told that Llorente would cost €36 million – the minimum fee release clause in his contract.
Instead, Villas-Boas opted to bring Emmanuel Adebayor to White Hart Lane permanently, although the Togolese international has failed to hit the heights of last season whilst on loan at Tottenham Hotspur under Harry Redknapp.
Jermain Defoe has been in fine form so far this term, but with a lack of depth in the position, Llorente would have added an extra attacking edge at Spurs if the club had pursued his signature. Any move for the player would now appear to be futile, however.