Fernando Llorente has long been linked with a Premier League move, and the switch could now materialise, with Manchester City and Chelsea most seriously interested.
The Athletic Bilbao striker is ready to test himself away from Spain, and after contract negotiations broke down with his current club, he could be offered an English escape route.
Llorente had initially asked Bilbao to double his wages to remain with them, but their failure to offer him such a deal has led the player to consider his future.
This news has alerted City and Chelsea in particular to the 27-year-old’s availability, with both prepared to offer a significant hike to Llorente’s current £40,000-per-week salary.
With the Spanish international having only a year remaining on his contract too, Bilbao could be tempted to sell sooner rather than later in order to cash in.
A powerful forward in the mould of Llorente is a tempting proposition both for City and Chelsea, who have lost, or may lose, similar strikers this summer.
Didier Drogba’s departure from the Blues left a void which has yet to be filled, whilst City remain hopeful of offloading Edin Dzeko during the close season.
Therefore, the 6ft 5in attacker would appear a suitable replacement for either of these players, and his 30 goals last season indicate a finishing ability that would appeal to each.
However, the Premier League outfits could face continental competition for Llorente’s signature, with Real Madrid and AC Milan thought to be interested in the player also.
It is thought that Llorente would preference a move to England however, and a fee in the region of £15m looks to be enough to secure the striker this summer.
While it seems City and Chelsea will do battle over his signature, the Premier League champions may be better positioned to make Llorente their first signing of the close season.
This comes in the aftermath of extensive Eastlands scouting of the player over the past few months, which has led Roberto Mancini to identify him as a chief target.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.