Arsenal join Llorente pursuit with striker refusing to sign new Bilbao deal
08:45 GMT, 23 September 2012
Arsenal have joined the race for Spanish hitman Fernando Llorente with the Athletic Bilbao striker delaying signing a new deal with the club.
The 27-year-old has interested Arsene Wenger for a while and is out of contract next summer with his club looking to cash in on him in January if he does not put pen to paper.
Frustation: Fernando Llorente does not want a new deal at Athletic Bilbao
Manchester City and Chelsea are also interested in picking up the striker who is valued at around 15million, according to Metro.
Llorente impressed last season with 30 goals in 53 games, including one in a superb display at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the Europa League.
If he does sign a new deal with Bilbao he will have to win over his own fans as they booed him in a recent fixture against Espanyol.
Whether Arsenal will spend the money on Llorente is another matter, after Wenger's latest outburst over excessive money in football.
The Arsenal manager is a leading supporter of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, which he hopes will curb the spending of clubs like Manchester City and Paris St Germain and help his team end their seven-year trophy drought.
'In the end, football suffers,' said Wenger. 'Look what happened in the transfer market this summer. PSG are ambitious, they have resources, and there you go.
'We always say the same thing. Europe, it's like the Titanic. But we carry on as if nothing matters. More than ever, we need to manage our clubs in a controlled way because otherwise everyone suffers.'
Debatable: Will Arsene Wenger splash the cash on Llorente in January