Resurgent Premier League relegation battlers Swansea City rejected "substantial" January offers for a trio of influential players including Fernando Llorente, according to chairman Huw Jenkins. The experienced Spanish striker, a summer arrival from Sevilla, was subject to interest from leaders Chelsea last month with Michy Batshuayi used only sparingly and Diego Costa involved in a heated row with manager Antonio Conte amid a lucrative offer from China.
Former Juventus forward Llorente, who won the first of his three Serie A titles under Conte in 2013-14, was apparently viewed as either an alternative back-up to Costa or an adequate short-term replacement for his fiery compatriot. Such a transfer never came to fruition, however, with Swansea understandably desperate to retain their key performers in a bid to stave off a first return to the Championship for six years.
Addressing the window in his notes that appeared in a club programme produced prior to Sunday's (12 February) 2-0 victory over free-falling champions Leicester City, Jenkins revealed that the Swans rebuffed bids for eight-goal Llorente as well as centre-back Federico Fernandez and key playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson.
"There were quite a few media reports in January about rival clubs looking at some of our players," he was quoted as saying by Wales Online. "I can confirm there was big interest in Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente and Federico Fernandez, in particular, and that substantial offers were turned down during the window for all three of them because we felt they were vital to our cause."
Jenkins did not specifically identify Chelsea as the club that saw an offer for Llorente declined. January manager of the month Paul Clement, who has won four of his six league matches since succeeding Bob Bradley to lift Swansea off the bottom of the table and up to 15th with a four-point buffer to the drop zone, recently claimed that he was not always sure that the 31-year-old would remain in South Wales.
"We're happy with him so when both parties are happy, there's no need to move," he said, pointing to Llorente's quickfire brace in a shock defeat of Liverpool at Anfield as a signal of his contentedness. "Of course, it [transfer interest] can put questions in a player's mind, but in my conversations with him he has been happy here. He has seen how the team is starting to play and he is very important to us."
Speaking on his failed move to Chelsea last week, Llorente told reporters: "I already know Conte from Juventus. But it's difficult in the winter when there's a way out from a side you're playing for and it's normal that they didn't go ahead with the deal. I'm very focused on the team and am looking forward to helping save us from relegation."