Fernando Llorente has paved the way for a move to Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham or Liverpool next year by confirming he will leave Athletic Bilbao when his contract expires in the summer. In demand: Athletic Bilbao hitman Fernando Llorente (Picture: Getty) The Spanish striker, who has long been considered one of the most lethal marksmen in Europe, has just seven months left on his current deal, and has refused to sign an extension. The news brings to a close months of speculation surrounding Llorente, who rejected Bilbao’s opening contract offer over the summer, and nearly forced through a move to Juventus in the process. That deal eventually collapsed, but Llorente is now ready to move on a free transfer at the end of the season, with a switch to England looking increasingly likely. ‘I am going to leave on June 30. I want to develop as a player and try something new,’ said Llorente. ‘It isn’t about money because the offer the club made was irresistible.’ Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool are all long-term fans of the 27-year-old, while Chelsea hold the most serious interest, having reportedly approached his representatives over a transfer in the last few months. The fight for the frontman’s signature is likely to be intense, especially with no transfer fee involved given his future free agent status. Spanish giants Real Madrid have also been linked with a move, but Premier League teams have the advantage of being able to negotiate a pre-contract from January onwards.
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