Reports in Spain this week have been discussing the possibility of a return to the country for Tottenham Hotspur striker Fernando Llorente.
Marca has reported that Llorente is keen on a return to Spain, with former club Athletic Bilbao and their Basque rivals Real Sociedad mentioned.
They even highlight comments from Llorente from last summer, where he admitted he would like to return to San Mames:
“It’s my home, wonderful things happened to me that will never be forgotten and Athletic will always be there, if they ever propose to come back, I’m sure I’ll think about it.”
Llorente’s first season at Tottenham Hotspur has been fairly disappointing. After impressing with Swansea City the former Juventus and Sevilla striker joined Spurs in the summer. The fee was reported by Sky Sports to be in the region of £12.1 million. However, he has not managed to be the secondary to Harry Kane that Tottenham were after. With just five goals in 30 appearances, he looks set to be on his way out of Tottenham this summer.
A move to Athletic Bilbao would, of course, be excellent for Llorente. The 33-year-old from Pamplona spent 17 years at the club from the age of 10.
However, whilst he might want a move back to the club, which also makes sense on paper, the move would be difficult.
When Llorente decided to leave Bilbao, and rejected a new deal, back in 2012 it caused an uproar in the local press. The Tottenham striker was forced to play back-up to Aritz Aduriz and publicly fell out with manager Marcelo Bielsa and president Josu Urrutia.
After a bit-part campaign, he joined Juventus on a free transfer in July 2013. It was a deal that infuriated the passionate Bilbao fans who felt Llorente had let the club down by his exit.
It was the manner of his departure that most irked Bilbao locals. The club, who only play Basque players, rely on the sale of their finer talents to continue growing. Llorente’s decision to leave on a free was considered a slight to the club.
The Tottenham man would, of course, love a return to Bilbao. For some fans, enough time has passed for such a deal to indeed be a possibility.
But, the fact remains, many would not welcome Llorente back to the club this summer. A Basque return would look more likely to be in San Sebastian and not Bilbao.