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Urrutia rules out Llorente sale

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia has issued a hands-off warning to clubs considering a January swoop for Fernando Llorente.

The striker has been linked with several of Europe’s biggest sides and his lack of playing time under coach Marcelo Bielsa has led to more speculation he is set to depart in the upcoming transfer window.

However, Urrutia has made it clear the club have no intention of selling Llorente, who has attracted suitors in England and Italy, while admitting talks over a new deal for defender Fernando Amorebieta have not run smoothly.

“There will not be any movement in the winter. The team is much more competitive with Aritz (Aduriz) and Llorente in attack,” he told reporters.

“There is no progress, but we are expecting a positive response (from Amorebieta’s representatives) soon. We know that the player wants to renew.”

Europa League runners-up last season, Athletic have struggled this campaign and have mustered just four La Liga wins to date.

But, Urrutia is remaining positive ahead of his side’s clash with Real Madrid on Saturday, while leaping to the defence of teenager Iker Muniain.

“This time last year we had the same number of points in the league. The team has had a number of issues to contend with but we still have great passion,” he said.

“Real Madrid are favourites but you never know how the game will unfold.

“Anyone can make a mistake. At his age, Iker shows great character. It is normal with very young players.”

Thu 15 November, 2012
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