Premier League clubs on alert as Spain international confirms summer exit
Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal & Manchester City transfer news: Fernando Llorente confirms Athletic Bilbao departure
Fernando Llorente has sparked a Premier League scramble with Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool on alert as the Spain international confirms his intention to leave Athletic Bilbao at the end of the season.
Llorente was part of Spain's Euro 2012-winning squad, and has long been considered as one of the most effective strikers in Europe.
His decision to leave the Basque side is sure to spark a chase for his signature, with City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal able to agree a pre-contract agreement with Llorente from January onwards.
The Metro claims Chelsea lead the chase for Llorente, having already held talks with his representatives in the last few months.
But Spurs, City, Liverpool and Arsenal have all been credited with an interest in the Spanish striker, and there is likely to be a mad dash to agree a deal with the Bilbao striker when January rolls around.
Llorente came close to signing for Juventus in the summer, after rejecting Bilbao's opening contract offer.
Months of negotiations between Llorente and Bilbao followed, but the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement, and Llorente recently confirmed he will leave the La Liga club.
"I am going to leave on June 30," said Llorente. "I want to develop as a player and try something new. It isn't about money because the offer the club made was irresistible."
The Spain international's free-agent status could lead to a scramble for his signature, as Llorente is likely to be one of the bargains of the summer.
Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with moves for strikers in the New Year, while Liverpool are believed to have made money available to Reds boss Brendan Rodgers for the transfer window.