Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez is targeting Juventus striker Fernando Llorente as a replacement for Manchester United star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who is back at Old Trafford after his loan deal at Madrid expired.
Hernandez himself confirmed in early June that Real had opted against activating his transfer clause to secure his services permanently. And according to Spanish TV Station La Sexta, Benitez has identified Llorente as a perfect replacement for the Mexican striker to provide back-up for Karim Benzema. La Sexta also claimed that Llorente wants to move out of Juventus as the club signed Mario Mandzukic last month from Atletico Madrid, which will effectively reduce his playing time at the club.
Llorente lead the forward line for Juventus in 2013/14, scoring 16 goals and assisting five in 34 appearances. But after the arrival of Alvaro Morata last season, the 30-year-old Spaniard made 31appearances in the league, mostly as a substitute, and scored just seven goals.
Benitez has got just one out-and-out striker in the form of Benzema, and the former Napoli boss has made it clear that he wants a striker with completely different attributes to Benzema. The height and strength of Llorente means that he is suited to more of an aerial game, and he also has a lot of La Liga experience. Lorente spent eight years in Spanish top flight, playing for Athletic Bilbao from 2005 to 2013 and scored 118 goals for the club in all competitions.
Llorente, who still has two years left on his contract at Juventus, has been offered to AC Milan and Liverpool, according to Italian newspaper Tuttosport. But the Spaniard is expected to favour a move to his homeland and therefore will be tempted by any offers from Real Madrid.
Following a season without silverware, Los Blancos are expected to spend big in this summer transfer window.