Arsenal and Liverpool boosted in striker chase after target’s replacement lined-up

Sunil A Markal / 19 February 2015

The prolific Frenchman, who is out of contract in the summer, is supposedly attracting interest from several Premier League clubs, with the aforementioned duo leading the queue. Marseille have now identified Juventus striker Fernando Llorente as a like-for-like replacement for the imminently departing forward.

The Spain International is struggling for gametime with the Old Lady, and will reportedly be offloaded in the summer, with Marseille keen to land the former Athletic Bilbao hitman. Llorente joined Juventus on a bosman in the summer of 2013. Although he quickly found his feet running in Italy, the 6 ft 5 striker has found minutes hard to come by.

L’OM manager Marcelo Bielsa knows Llorente well from his time with the Basque club, and a switch to the French side makes sense. The striker, under Bielsa was influential in Bilbao’s progression to the 2012 UEFA Europa League Final, which included the elimination of Manchester United, in which Llorente scored.

The 23-cap Spain International has fallen behind Carlos Tevez and Álvaro Morata, while the winter arrival of Alessandro Matri could further reduce his gametime.

STRUGGLING: Llorente has become a bit-part player this term under Allegri

Liverpool were rumored to have shortlisted Gignac at the end of January transfer market in case striker Rickie Lambert left, but the striker eventually stayed put with the Ligue 1 title chasers.

Gignac meanwhile was confirmed to be exiting the Stade Vélodrome at the end of current campaign, with Chairman Vincent Labrune revealing in October that the club cannot match the striker’s demands.

Talking to Le Journal de Dimanche, said, “It’s going to happen because employer contributions and taxes have gone through the roof in France,”

“We would like to keep him but it seems to me utopian to think that he will lower his salary to stay with us.”

“He loves the city and the club, so we’re going to talk.”

“But his agent is right to say that, with his current displays, he is more likely to get better offers.”

Marseille have only Gignac as their recognized striker, with young forward Michy Batshuayi yet to stake claim for a regular starting berth.

Gignac has started L’OM’s all 25 league games this season, propelling Bielsa’s side to 2nd in the Ligue 1.

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