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Muniain staying put; Llorente reaches pre-contract agreement with Juve

Athletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain has insisted that he is happy at the club amid speculation linking the 19-year-old with a move to Bayern Munich.

Athletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain has insisted that he is happy at the club amid speculation linking the Spanish Under-21 international with a move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, ESPN reports.

Muniain, 19, enjoyed the best form of his career last season, leading Athletic Bilbao to the UEFA Europa League final following victories against the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke 04.

The 19-year-old attacker made 58 appearances, in all competitions, for Los Leones last term, tallying nine goals and five assists.

The Spaniard has not been as effective in 2012-13, with one goal and two assists to his name in 28 appearances. His only goal of the current campaign came in a 2-1 Europa League defeat to Croatian side Slaven Belupo Koprivnica at the Gradski Stadium on 9 August 2012.

“I am happy here and I have a contract until 2015,” revealed Muniain. “I do not think about anything like that. I am going to take advantage of every minute I am at this club and enjoy it.”

“In the last months my mood has not been as good, but now I am beginning to feel better and I hope to keep going like this.

“It has been a bit of everything. I hope to keep improving and get my best form back as quickly as possible.”

At the moment, Bilbao (6-4-10) are in 14th-place in the La Liga table, having notched 22 points — 33 points behind league leaders FC Barcelona (18-1-1) — from 20 league matches.

Llorente reaches pre-contract agreement with Juve

Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has reached a pre-contract agreement with Serie A champions Juventus, Sky Sports understands.

Llorente, 27, had been linked with a number of English Premier League clubs, but Juventus always led the chase for the Spain international.

The 27-year-old is set to join Juve when his current contract at the Estadio San Mames expires in June.

His pre-contract agreement, which allows him to leave Bilbao via free transfer, ties him to the Juventus Stadium from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2017, a period of four years.

Now then, why keep Llorente and allow him to leave for free in the summer if he’s not in the first-team picture?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question. It does not make much sense does it? The Spain international has started 1 of 20 league matches for Bilbao, but the club insist on him staying put in January. Simply ridiculous.

Surely a deal in the region of €10 million could have been agreed with Juve, who will now get a 100% discount on the Spain international. But it is what it is I suppose.

“The future of Llorente is black and white,” confirmed a statement on Juve’s official website.

“The Spain international, who will soon be out of contract at Athletic Bilbao, has signed an agreement that will bind him to Juventus from 1 July 2013. The contract, for a period of four years, will expire 30 June 2017.

“Until the end of this season the striker will continue to play for Athletic Bilbao.”

Thu 24 January, 2013
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