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Arsenal set to battle Tottenham for Juventus target man

| 19.02.2015

Arsenal could be preparing a surprise summer bid for Juventus striker Fernando Llorente, according to fresh speculation.

The Metro claims that the Gunners are set to move for the Spaniard at the end of the season after a campaign in which the 29-year-old has struggled for game time.

A Spain international with 23 caps and seven goals to his name, Llorente was brought to Italy by then-Juve boss Antonio Conte in the summer of 2013.

But following Conte’s departure from the club and the subsequent arrival of Massimiliano Allegri, the former Athletic Bilbao striker has struggled for game time, making 19 appearances in Serie A mostly as a substitute.

With Llorente keen to play more regularly and force his way back into Vicente del Bosque’s plans for the national team, Arsenal could offer one potential escape route, though they may face competition from their north London rivals.

Tottenham have been keen admirers of the Spanish striker for some time and were linked with a move for the forward earlier this week, with The Express reporting that the Lilywhites are willing to offer around £16m to land the Bianconeri striker.

Born in Pamplona, Spain, Llorente spent the majority of his career at Athletic Club, scoring 118 goals in 333 appearances for the Basque side.

His breakout season was the 2011/12 campaign when the forward enjoyed a best-ever return of 29 goals in 53 outings for a Bilbao team that reached the finals of both the Europa League and Copa del Rey under then-manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Manchester United fans may well remember him as the striker that helped dump the Red Devils out of Europe that season, with Llorente scoring home and away against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The 29-year-old finished the campaign with seven goals in the competition and the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham will be hoping to utilise that scoring touch from next season onwards.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.