Harry Redknapp will be looking to Tottenham Hotspur’s friendly with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday in more ways than one.
It will be the last chance for the Spurs manager to blood his team ahead of their first Premier League match of the season at home to Everton, but it also offers a chance for Redknapp to get close to one of his main transfer targets.
Fernando Llorente will line up in the Athletic Bilbao team in the midst of speculation linking him with a move to Tottenham Hotspur or Real Madrid, but Bilbao’s reluctance to sell to Real Madrid leaves Spurs in the driving seat.
It would cost somewhere in the region of £17m to tempt Bilbao into letting go of their star striker, but considering Spurs were enquiring about Giuseppi Rossi and were told it would take £28m to sign the Villarreal forward, Llorente would seem like a bargain.
On the fringes of the Spanish team, Llorente has scored three goals in six appearances for his country but it’s his record for Bilbao in the last few seasons that has really brought him to the attention of Europe’s top clubs.
In the last four seasons for Bilbao Llorente has scored 72 goals in 171 appearances in all competitions, including 8 goals in 11 Europa League games in the 2009/10 season.
He’s consistently improved in the league with tallies of 11, 14, 14 and 18 over the last four years and with Spurs seriously in need of a consistent goalscorer, Llorente fits the bill.
The Spurs defence will get a close view of Llorente’s ability tomorrow and should he prove a handful, Redknapp will be hopeful of convincing Daniel Levy to part with the cash for the striker.
With the Luka Modric saga onrunning, Spurs need some cheer ahead of the new season and confidence will be high if Redknapp manages to snare Llorente.