Waking up to the news that Middlesbrough might be some way down the line with a move for Sevilla’s Fernando Llorente must have been chastening for some of the Premier League’s established mid-tablers, particularly seeing as the striker might go on the cheap.
MailOnline’s Simon Jones believes Llorente ‘is interested in linking up with Aitor Karanka at Boro’, stating ‘Spanish paper AS claim that the newly promoted club have made contact with Sevilla’, with just his £15.2m release clause ‘or considerably less’ required by the La Liga outfit.
Llorente’s seven strikes in 36 appearances during his first term at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan pale into insignificance next to Kevin Gameiro’s 29 in 52.
The pair could hardly be less alike though, with around 20cm in height between them, depending on what stats you read, so it’s fair to make the case that Llorente just doesn’t fit into boss Unai Emery’s system.
At just turned 31-years-old, the 23-cap Spaniard surely has plenty to give to the right club, going by his goal record prior to the season just past.
Manchester United and Arsenal were sniffing around the former Athletic Bilbao man after he bagged 77 goals in 176 La Liga matches between 2007-2012, eventually signing for Juventus in the summer of 2013 following an acrimonious final season in Basque Country, where he left on a free transfer.
Another 16 goals in just 29 Serie A starts during his first term with the Old Lady proved he’s no one-league wonder, but the departure of Antonio Conte the following summer clearly impeded Llorente’s progress in Italy, with just nine strikes in 47 matches managed under Massimiliano Allegri.
If the past two terms can be forgiven, Llorente’s league goal record bears comparison with the likes of Wayne Rooney, less than a year younger yet still valued at much more than £15m.
With this in mind, Everton could do a lot worse than run the rule over the 6ft 5in forward, especially considering the future of star striker Romelu Lukaku is far from assured.
Understudy Oumar Niasse, bought for £13.5m by former boss Roberto Martinez in January, is yet to score in seven games and looks a terrible buy at present.
The Toffees’ new owners are clearly impressed by happenings at Sevilla in recent seasons, with rumours that Emery and sporting director Monchi are being lined up to take the reins on the blue half of Merseyside.
That being said, Emery taking over at Goodison Park this summer, which he’s 3/1 second favourite to do with bwin.com, would surely put the kibosh on any move for Llorente.