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Llorente To Sunderland? Don't Make Us LOL(rente)

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That's not a Sunderland shirt, and it never will be.
That's not a Sunderland shirt, and it never will be.

This morning there was some rather surprising 'news' as it appears we're dumping Nicklas Bendtner, and turning our attentions to other strikers. Steven Fletcher? Yakubu? Jordan Rhodes?

None of the above this time as The Telegraph point out in passing that we're apparently chasing a much, much bigger target from overseas. A move that would be really quite incredible...

Fernando Llorente. No, you're correct, that Fernando Llorente. The one who has lit up La Liga and the Europa League this season for Athletic Bilbao. The very same one linked to several clubs this summer including Barcelona and Manchester City.

I looks like he could be "out of our price range" to quote the original article, which has been picked up on forums and social networks to make us look a bit of a laughing stock for even having such an audacious thought.

So can we find anything with quotes from Llorente, an agent or the club about any such move? Yes, we can. As we pointed in a Roker Roundup a few weeks ago O'Neill has been speaking about Llorente on Goal.com;

Have a look at Athletic Bilbao's game last night - the centre forward there was prepared to come out and play. He's a brilliant centre-forward.

Hope for Llorente in an alternate version of red and white next season? No, don't get too carried away, O'Neill did nothing but point out (in the original, link above) that the Spanish striker was the KIND OF forward he'd like to bring in, not THE forward he'd like to bring in. Realising that Llorente is somewhat of an unreasonable target, he later went on;

The Northern Irishman added with a smile: "Is he available?

For those that seem unable to read body language, such as The Telegraph who ran the story this morning, it looks as though O'Neill might have just been having a laugh here. It seems that some are having difficulty reading our manager, or even comprehending he's simply a much cleverer and more pragmatic man than we've previously had, who opted to just tell it how it was due to having no other option.

The Telegraph don't have a particularly great hit rate when it comes to transfer rumours. According to the Football Transfer League they print very, very few, and of those only managed to get around 25% of them correct. Indeed they've only managed to predict 6 correct transfers for SAFC since 2006 according to the same site.

Still, it's the first signs that transfer silly season is well and truly upon us, less than 48 hours after the close of the season. I think that might be a new record.