Thursday 15 June 2017

Fernando Llorente: Our Jack in Attack

Following our two-part blog on the players the Swans should retain, you may have noticed one player in particular that was missing. We’ve raved about Gylfi Sigurdsson’s influence last season but paid little to no attention to Fernando Llorente’s assertion. The Spaniard is the subject from a number of clubs including Chelsea and Manchester City but the Swans should only sell for silly money.

Llorente’s influence cannot go unnoticed and was just as important to the campaign Sigurdsson. The 32-year-old scored 15-goals and grabbed one assist as the Jacks fought to the end for their Premier League lives. The striker was one of the stand out performers under Paul Clement and has duly earned his plaudits.

Arriving from Sevilla for an undisclosed fee, Llorente was under pressure to prove his worth in the top flight and whilst he could have gone the same way as Borja Baston, he staked his claim as Swansea’s mains striker. One of Llorente’s best games came during Bob Bradley’s first win as Swans’ manager.

Llorente ran riot against a hapless Sunderland, bagging a brace and picking up the man of the match award. That said, Llorente’s best game came against Liverpool, the turning point of the Swans’ season following Clement’s appointment.
The former Barcelona man put the Swans 2-0 ahead at Anfield and helped to run Jurgen Klopp’s defence ragged as the Jacks eventually went on to win 3-2. Another win in which Llorente shined in was that 3-2 win over Burnley. A crunch tie for the Jacks having loomed at the bottom of the table for far too long, the Spaniard came through.

Our star man opened the scoring early in the game but just after the hour mark, the Swans were 2-1 one down. Still, Clement’s men stayed resilient and Martin Olsson was able to make it 2-2 no more than eight minutes later. Heading into injury time, the game looked set for a 2-2 draw but the Jacks weren’t prepared to give up that easily and who other than Llorente to smash home the winner? The Spaniard left the game with yet another brace and another man of the match accolade, scooping four of each in total across the course of the season.

Chelsea tried to sign Llorente in January but fortunately, the Spaniard stayed in South Wales. The main concern is losing Llorente on a free, the striker is only contracted to the summer of 2018, though if he does depart this summer, finding an adequate replacement could prove tricky. A move to Chelsea is more likely than a move to the Etihad, there has been concrete interest from the London club in the past and Llorente has played under Antonio Conte previously during his time at Juventus.
His 15 goals in 33 Premier League games (28 starts) averages at a goal almost every two games, thus it’s no surprise Chelsea want him on their books. With Diego Costa China bound, Llorente may be one of the players Conte eyes to fill the void left by his fellow countryman.

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