The future of Fernando Llorente’s international career depends on the striker remaining in Spain rather than chasing huge wages in the Premier League.
Llorente, who is in the last year of his contract at Bilbao, failed to force a move away from the club in the summer, and will soon be free to talk to clubs about a transfer away.
“I cannot guarantee that I will still be with Athletic in 2013,” Llorente told Cadena SER. “In January, I’m free to talk and I will consider all my options.” A potential move could be a huge blow for Los Leones, however.
Llorente will have a big decision to make in the near future, as Manchester City, Liverpool, and Spurs chase the 27-year-old’s signature, while Real Madrid are also touted as a final destination for the striker.
It is certainly clear that Madrid or any of Spain’s top clubs would be a better option than moving to the Premier League. Llorente’s game would change in England, with managers seeing the 6ft 5in frame of the striker as a clear target to send long balls.
Llorente would transform into a go-to man, something that contradicts his style at Athletic Bilbao and the Spanish ethos of keeping the ball on the ground. Although he may be effective in England, it could mean him sacrificing a place in the national side.
Very few Spanish strikers make a success of the Premier League and even less retain a place in Spain’s squad doing so; while Fernando Torres has done okay, the likes of Fernando Morientes and Juan Antonio Reyes proved adapting to the game can be difficult.
Athletic Bilbao’s striker will not be used like David Silva or Juan Mata are at City and Chelsea, two teams topping the Premier League odds for the title; instead will be expected to hold the ball up, create flick-ons for teammates and charge into the box for in-swinging crosses whenever possible.
This game would completely undermine his talents as a footballer, contradicting his style that has earned him a place for Spain.
Should he fail to quickly adapt to the Premier League, he would soon find himself cast aside, much like Reyes and Morientes when fans turned on them following a string of poor performances. At 27, Llorente does not have time to turn his career around should he make a mess of an English transfer.
He is not a young starlet and he should not be changing his style of play at this stage of his career; it is too much of a risk. Instead, Llorente should stay in Spain and fight for a national team place, rather than chase wages abroad.