Fernando Llorente’s list of likely suitors stretches from Italy with Juventus, to England with Arsenal, and back home in Spain with Real Madrid. The Athletic Bilbao striker has made it absolutely clear that he intends to leave the Basque club in the new year, and as one of the finest strikers in the game today, the Spaniard will certainly be on the hunt for trophies at his next destination.
But maybe the obvious choices are simply that—too obvious. Maybe the player doesn’t need Real Madrid or Juventus, maybe it takes something a little out of left field to really take your career to the next level.
Borussia Dortmund’s current position in the Champions League means they are far more relevant outside of Germany than they were at this stage last season. The Bundesliga champions have grown even further with key additions in playing personnel, while the club clearly have no intention of resting on their laurels of two league titles and one domestic cup; the players—and that includes the big names—want further success under Jurgen Klopp.
It was reported last week within Germany that Dortmund had reached an agreement with Manchester United to sell Robert Lewandowski at the end of the season. That’s no great surprise, the club have sold a big name each year for one reason or another, but have regardless replaced with equal or better quality. Lewandowski remains a fixture in the gossip pages, and Manchester United have long held an interest in the Polish striker.
What does that mean for Llorente? The Spaniard may not find a club in Europe who are better suited to his playing style and who can facilitate his ascent up the leader and towards trophies.
Dortmund play a high tempo game, with swift attacking and pressing high up the pitch being among the foundations of their success. Llorente has had plenty of that coached into him in recent years, with the biggest showcase coming in Bilbao’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United back in April.
Llorente is a tall, powerful target man who would be well suited to Dortmund’s high technical standards. He plays the lone striker role exceptionally well and has the movement to be a real threat in Dortmund’s attack. Not only would it make financial sense for Dortmund to heavily pursue the striker, but the German club represent a readymade setup that would allow the Spaniard to flourish almost immediately.
Dortmund’s big name signing of the summer, Marco Reus, has already made a fantastic start and impression at Signal Iduna Park. The forward is among Dortmund’s leading scorers, while his versatility makes his a constant threat either from the flanks or from a central role. In short, the setup at Dortmund was perfect for Reus to slot into.
Yes, Dortmund needed a big name to replace the departing Shinji Kagawa, especially if they were looking to make waves on the continent. However, they also needed a player who would compliment their vast array of talent already at the club. The signing of Reus was a smart move in the market and gave plenty of evidence that there is a method to Dortmund’s progression. Remember, the club are not the financial powerhouse that Bayern Munich are; being wasteful in the transfer window is just not an option.
With Llorente, it would represent a similar deal. The move would be low-risk as the player is in the last year of his contract, while his name is certainly big enough around Europe to indicate the club are moving forward, even following the potential departure of Lewandowski.