Arsenal are considering a bid for Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente. The player is being considered as a possible replacement for Robin van Persie, reports the Daily Mail.
The Dutchman has been linked with a move away from the Gunners this summer after he confirmed he would not be renewing his contract, which runs out next year. The report says the north London outfit are now ready to sell the 28 year old striker and could use money from the sale to land the highly-rated Llorente.
The Spaniard, who scored 29 goals from all competitions for Bilbao last season, is understood to have a £28mn release clause in his contract. The 6ft 5in striker was part of the La Roja squad that won the 2012 European Championships and also the 2010 World Cup. Arsenal are understood to be prepared to trigger the release clause and make Llorente their most expensive signing ever, after receiving heavy criticism for failing to hold on to star players and being a feeder club. However, it is unclear whether Bilbao would be interested in selling one of their most prized assets, particularly since another of their players - midfielder Javi Martinez - has also been linked with a move away.
Meanwhile, van Persie has reportedly refused to travel with the Arsenal squad to Asia for pre-season matches, according to Goal.com. The report states the Holland international has refused to go on the club's three-match trip to Malaysia and China. The forward will now remain at London Colney to train with the club's academy and reserve players, as also injury-hit stars such as Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna.
The striker's resolve to leave the club has been fairly well established and despite temporary rumours he was prepared to withdraw his statement and remain the club, his time at the Emirates stadium seems set to draw to a close.
The club has reportedly rejected an initial bid from Manchester United, as also from Manchester City and Juventus. AC Milan have also been credited with an interest, following the sale of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris St Germain (PSG).