Fernando Llorente expressed a desire to leave Athletic Club Bilbao as reported by Euskal Telebista (ETB or Basque Television in Spain) with a h/t to AS. The news comes at a time when Athletic Club Bilbao is preparing for the 2012-2013 season.
Llorente leaving Athletic Club Bilbao may be the best thing that may happen to him and the club. The reasons (and their origins) are many, but the time has come to discuss the ones that matter.
It appears that Llorente and Marcelo Bielsa (Athletic Club Bilbao manager) do not enjoy a healthy manager/player relationship. According to Vozpopuli (a Spanish Sports website) with a h/t to ESPN Soccernet, Llorente is not happy with the course taken by Bielsa for Athletic Club Bilbao.
Llorente has tried to accommodate Bielsa's style of play, which is high in tempo and style coupled with rapid movements. The attempts to accommodate are compounded by injuries that Llorente suffered.
Bielsa has blamed Llorente for the losses of Athletic Club Bilbao in the last Copa Del Rey and Europa League. According to ESPN Soccernet the acrimony has reached such a level between the two that Llorente does not want to be in Bilbao whilst Bielsa is there.
The people of Bilbao (according to ESPN Soccernet) have supported Bielsa in the battle. They heckled Llorente when he appears on the field when news of his desire to leave surfaced.
The most important factor in a club is a healthy relationship between the manager and their players. When that relationship is damaged beyond repair, the time has come to move on for the parties involved.
The same applies when a player's relationship with the fan base of a club appears to be irretrievably broken. The sooner the player leaves, the better.
Llorente is 27 years of age and the time for a change is now. When a player reaches his 30's, the body tends to react in a slower manner than the 20's.
The American Rock Group Aerosmith wrote the verse "Time don't let it slip away" in their song "Full Circle". Llorente should take advantage of his youth as a football player and sign with a club with UEFA Champions League possibilities such as Juventus FC.
While there are other clubs interested in Llorente, Juventus and the Spaniard would be a great fit. Juventus has won two UEFA Champions League, two Super Cups, two EUSA cups and three Europa League trophies.
Juventus could benefit from a powerful striker such as Llorente to improve its chances in the 2012-2013 UEFA Champions League. Juventus is currently at 43rd place in the UEFA ranking.
Llorente could reap benefits from a club that won the 2011-2012 Serie A Championship—able to start over at a club that would allow him creativity on the field.
While in favor of Llorente signing with Juventus FC, any club with UEFA Champions League experience should sit down with Athletic Club Bilbao.
The clubs, Llorente and the latter's manager should sit down and negotiate an exit that would benefit all who are involved.
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