Arsenal on alert as Spain striker Fernando Llorente confirms he will leave Athletic Bilbao in summer
Spain striker Fernando Llorente has put Arsenal on alert after confirming that he will leave Athletic Bilbao when his contract finishes at the end of the season.
Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger has an available transfer fund of £40 million in January and then a further £30 million will come into the club next summer as a result of their new shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates.
Arsenal's proactive approach to the transfer market suggests that Wenger believes his squad is now close to challenging Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. However, their established back-up to Olivier Giroud in the main striker's role is limited.
Wenger has already asked his network of scouts to search for another new striker to replace Robin van Persie.
And although the Arsenal coach is ready to recuit in the January transfer window, Llorente's decision to leave Bilbao in the summer could tempt the Frenchman to make an offer when the Spaniard becomes available.
Indeed, his agent, Carlos Arino Bajo, told Telegraph Sport in August that it was "very, very possible" the striker will be on his way to England.
"It isn't about money because the offer the club made was irresistible," Llorente added.
"The media have not helped with the negotiations and it is one of the things that has generated the bad atmosphere around me out on the pitch. This has encouraged me not to renew my contract; this and many other things.
"I took the decision when I went out for the first Europa League game at San Mames (in August).
"Most of what has come out in the press is lies and this has turned people against me. This has meant when I run out on to the pitch people whistle at me. There is a sector of the crowd who do not want me but I feel loved by the majority."
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