Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Swansea set for January spending spree; Bilbao won’t sell Llorente

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has revealed the club will be looking to strengthen its squad when the transfer window reopens in January, with manager Michael Laudrup looking at one or two players in all areas, Sky Sports understands.

The Swans are currently on a six-match unbeaten run, which has propelled them to seventh-place in the English Premier League table.

“We’ll be looking to strengthen in January, not to weaken our squad,’ said Jenkins. “We’ll make every attempt to make sure that happens.

“Michael’s after one or two players in all areas – a forward, midfield player and a defender.

“At this level of football they’ve got to be 100 per cent ready. While it’s great signing players with promise, everybody expects results week in week out.”

Michael Laudrup’s side kicked off December with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, and will be looking for more of the same when they take on Norwich City at the Liberty Stadium at the weekend.

Michu, 26, scored both goals against Arsenal last week, and has been arguably the signing of the season in the Premier League after joining Swansea for just £2 million from La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano in the summer.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has bagged 11 goals and two assists in 17 appearances in all competitions in 2012-13, including a league-leading 10 goals in the Premier League.

“We felt we had him [Michu] at good value and with his goalscoring it’s proved to be a good decision. We’re very pleased with that one,” added Jenkins.

Bilbao won’t sell Llorente

Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa has reaffirmed that the club will not sell Fernando Llorente in January despite the fact that the 27-year-old’s contract expires in the summer, Sky Sports reports.

Llorente has started just one league match for Bilbao this term, and has already publicly revealed that he will leave the club on 30 June, when his current contract expires.

In all honesty, the best policy for Bilbao in this situation would be to sell Llorente, and take some money from one of his potential suitors, which include Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus, according to reports.

However, Bielsa does not seem to be willing to part ways with the Spain international striker.

“Llorente is an important player in this club and we need his presence this season,” said Bielsa.

“The club have decided that he follows with us until June, and that is good for the squad.”

Now then, if he was an ‘important player’ as Bielsa insists, surely he would have started more than one of Bilbao’s first 14 league fixtures.

From where I’m sitting, it seems as if Bilbao are punishing the Spaniard for his desire to leave the club, but they are indeed punishing none other than themselves.

After all, if you take a look at the La Liga table, Bilbao are no where to be seen until you reach 15th-place.

I think that they were better off with Llorente last term. In fact, I know they were because they managed to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

That will not be happening this time around, and Bilbao’s supporters can thank Bielsa for that.


Shawn Etemadi



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