Juventus begin Llorente talks
Athletic Bilbao have announced that Juventus are to open negotiations with Fernando Llorente over a deal to sign the Spain striker in the summer.
Llorente will be out of contract at the end of the season and has barely featured for Bilbao this term after making it clear that he did not intend to pen a new deal.
He has attracted a lot of interest, including from the Premier League, and is now free to speak to other clubs.
Juve look to be in pole position to land Llorente after contacting Bilbao to confirm that they would be discussing terms with the 27-year-old.
"Juventus Football Club informed Athletic Club on Jan. 3 that, knowing Fernando Llorente will end his stint at our club on June 30, 2013, they will begin negotiations with the player to incorporate him into their squad," Bilbao said in a statement on their official website.
Llorente is one of the most exciting free transfers to become available in some time, having emerged as one of the finest forwards in Spanish football.
He has scored 115 goals in 317 appearances for Bilbao since making his debut in 2005.
He netted 24 times last season to help propel Marcelo Bielsa's side to the final of the Europa League and a 10th-place league finish.