Bilbao forward Llorente opens talks with Juventus

Story highlights

  • Juventus open talks with Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente
  • The Spanish striker is out of contract at the San Mames in June
  • Llorente won both 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with the Spanish national team
  • The 27-year-old international has two goals in 16 appearances this season
Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has opened talks with Juventus over a move to Italy in June, the Basque club confirmed on Thursday.
A 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 winner with Spain, Llorente is out of contract in six months time and is now free to discuss terms with clubs outside of his homeland.
"Juventus informed Athletic Club on January 3 that, knowing Fernando Llorente will end his time at our club on June 30 2013, they will begin negotiations with the player to incorporate him into their squad," read an Athletic statement.
Llorente impressed as Marcelo Bielsa's team reached the final of last season's Europa League before losing to Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid.
The Pamplona-born star has been in and out of the team since announcing he would not be renewing his contract with the eight-time Spanish champions and the usually prolific forward has just two goals in 16 appearances this term.
Before Juventus made their move Llorente had been linked with a move to the English Premier League, with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all rumored to have been among his suitors.
The 27-year-old striker has been a consistent goal threat since breaking into the Bilbao first team in 2005, scoring 115 times in 317 appearances.
After making his debut for Spain in 2008, Llorente has netted seven goals from 21 caps for La Roja.
Juventus will hope Llorente can bolster a squad which won the Italian title last year and once again sits top of the table this term.
Antonio Conte's team drew plaudits for the stylish attacking football they played to reach the knockout stages of the European Champions League.
The highlight of the Turin club's campaign was a resounding 3-0 defeat of 2012 champions Chelsea.