Premier League on alert after Athletic reveal Llorente contract snub

A host of Premier League clubs are expected to move for Fernando Llorente after the Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urritia revealed the striker won’t be signing a new contract.

Llorente’s current deal expires next summer and now appears odds on to leave the Primera Division side with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all keen admirers.

The 27-year-old enjoyed a prolific campaign at the San Mames scoring 30 goals and his decision will come as a huge blow to Bilbao with the new season beginning this weekend.

After being informed of Llorente’s decision by his representatives Urrutia revealed the Spain international’s reasoning saying he wants to test himself in a different league.

“I conveyed my disappointment but they told me the decision was final,” he said. “We talked to him last season and we made it clear how important it was he renewed his contract.

“He told us that he was going to give an answer after the European Championship and 10 days ago I received a call from him and his agent telling us his decision was not to renew.

“Essentially there wasn’t any economic reason, and what carried most weight was to take part in a different type of competition and with more possibilities of success.”

Along with a clutch of English clubs a number of European sides are thought to be monitoring developments with Italian champions Juventus favourites to land Llorente’s signature.

However, Urrutia warned his potential suitors that Athletic won’t let their prized asset leave on the cheap saying:  “I’m not talking with any other club because Athletic are not a selling club. To leave Athletic, the player must not want to stay with us and for the other clubs who want him to have to pay the clause in his contract.

“I continue wanting Fernando Llorente to stay here.

In interviews he has said he wanted to stay. I think we have all done enough.

“It’s not that we’re throwing in the towel. It’s that the decision that the player has given me is final.