Director of Football Marcel Brands can fill a key void in Marco Silva’s first-team by signing Real Sociedad’s Diego Llorente, who Noticias de Gipuzkoa believe is once again catching the Dutchman’s attention.
The 25-year-old was thought to have been a target of ours a year ago when Brands and Silva set about improving the squad left behind by Sam Allardyce and Ronald Koeman.
Llorente’s agent Juanma Lopez y Gelu Rodriguez even warned Txuri-Urdinak that they should prepare for an offer, but we opted for Kurt Zouma on loan and struck a deal with FC Barcelona for Yerry Mina in the end.
However, with the Frenchman forced to return to Chelsea despite our intent on crafting a permanent agreement, his exit has left a void in our defence that has to be filled, as there are no guarantees over Mina’s fitness over an entire season.
Thankfully, if Llorente is the man Silva and Brands have agreed on, Noticias de Gipuzkoa suggest we are the side who have shown the most interest in his services to date, which supporters AS’ recent claim that Liverpool had not lodged a €25million (£22m) bid.
Even if they had, it would have been a surprise if it were accepted, as the reports in Spain suggest Sociedad President Jokin Aperribay will only consider an offer below Llorente’s €50million (£44.1m) release clause if it is attractive.
To this, Noticias de Gipuzkoa claim we could present a bid circa €30million (£26.4m) for the 2-cap Spain international, who featured in 20 of Imanol Alguacil’s La Liga starting XIs and made one substitute outing in the season just gone.
Llorente would by no means be a like-for-like swap with Zouma, though, as the 6 ft 1 Real Madrid product does not possess the same physicality of his French counterpart.
What the Sociedad man would offer Silva, however, is a defender who is more than competent in possession and averaged a 68% tackle, 84% pass, and 56% aerial duel success rate across his La Liga appearances.