ESPN – Barcelona eye clasico with Real Madrid but Rayo the focus for now

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno believes Barcelona have a real chance to win the treble this season with the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez leading the charge. Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have a lot in common. Between them they have won 49 of the 112 editions of the Spanish Cup to date and they will meet again in this year's final on May 30 to decide who takes the 50th. That game will be a repeat of the 2009 and 2012 finals that Barca won and there should be similar scenes to those friendly occasions where fans happily mixed happily, united in their opposition of a shared enemy in the Spanish capital. Leaving aside the complexities of Spanish politics,…

ESPN – Victory at Athletic Bilbao can pad Barcelona’s lead over rivals

New Barcelona signing Luis Suarez is set to make his debut at the Bernabeu on Oct. 25 following the end of his suspension. Barcelona produced a promotional video this week to celebrate the start of the new season (a bit late, you may be thinking, for a season that is already a month old), but the message is a renewed one of hope after a bright start. “It all begins again” is the strap line over the image of a defiant-looking Luis Enrique, after we are shown the faces and then skills of five of the club's most exciting players. – Tomas: Suarez debut ups clasico anticipation – #UltimateUCL: Champions League: Round…

METRO – Fernando Llorente alerts Chelsea by confirming Athletic Bilbao exit

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.

METRO – Liverpool to be outbid for Fernando Amorebieta by Zenit St Petersburg

Liverpool could be set to miss out on transfer target Fernando Amorebieta, as Russian side Zenit St Petersburg enter the race for the highly-rated defender. Fernando Amorebieta (left) has been a long-term target of Liverpool (Picture: AFP) The Reds have been tracking Amorebieta with a view to a move for the Athletic Bilbao player in January, but Brendan Rodgers’ side could now be facing an uphill challenge to bring him to Anfield, with moneybags Zenit showing a keen interest. Liverpool were originally priced out of a move for the 27-year-old, with his £26million release clause out of their price range, but it is thought he could now be available at a reduced rate as his contract expires in 2014. But with a reduced price-tag, both Zenit and Italian side Roma have entered the fray for the central defender and the Serie A side believe an £8million offer will seal the deal in January. Zenit, though, may have other ideas. The Russian outfit are far from short of cash and could outbid both Roma and Liverpool if they are determined to land Amorebieta’s signature. They have already been in talks over a move for the Spaniard and are believed to have been encouraged by Bilbao’s stance.

Liverpool keen on Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Amorebieta

Fernando Amorebieta is a transfer target for Liverpool, the Athletic Bilbao defender’s representatives have confirmed. Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Amorebieta (left) is being linked with Liverpool (Picture: AFP/Getty) The Reds have been linked with the 27-year-old for the past few weeks, since it emerged he could be available for a bargain fee.He has just 12 months remaining on his current contract and the Basque club must decide whether to offer him a new deal or sell him before the summer transfer window closes.The Venezuela international’s representatives, Football Management 04, have now revealed Liverpool are keen to sign him.In a statement issued to Marca, they claimed Amorebieta was being eyed by a number of clubs.’His good season has attracted interest from several teams, one of which is Liverpool,’ the agency said.The company added Liverpool ‘is the one that has shown the most interest up to now’.However, they also made it clear the player’s preference was to sign a new long-term contract with Athletic.Amorebieta was born in Venezuela, but grew up in Spain and represented the European nation at Under-19 level, before switching his allegiance back to his homeland.He was a key figure in Athletic Bilbao’s impressive 2011-12 campaign and played in the Europa League and Spanish Cup finals for the club.