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Ath Bilbao 17:30 Granada

Towering ambition

Llorente longs to show he can cut it in Premier League

Last Updated: 16/03/11 8:49am

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Fernando Llorente is a man in demand - and with good reason.

"Yes, it's true. One day I'd like to play in the Premier League. "
Fernando Llorente Quotes of the week

Athletic Bilbao's lofty striker is naturally great in the air but can also dribble, assist and hold the ball up - so why shouldn't a string of clubs pursue him?

The 26-year-old was linked with a move to both Liverpool and Spurs during the January transfer window.

And more recent reports have suggested that Manchester United are lining up a £35million bid for the player who has so far earned 13 caps for Spain.

However, Llorente told Revista de la Liga that perhaps the closest he came to moving to England was when Fulham expressed an interest in him much earlier on in his career.

The move wasn't right at that stage, but Llorente insists that one day he would love to play Premier League football.

"The truth is I've never played in England and I'm not sure I will," he said. "But yes, it's true, one day I'd like to play in the Premier League.

"It seems a great league and everything is organised there from the beginning of the season with regards to the fixture list, which we do not have here in Spain. I like that.

Grateful

"I'm grateful to have all of these English clubs interested in me.

"With regards to Fulham, I was going through a difficult patch here in Bilbao. I wasn't playing and an offer came through where they wanted to sign me.

"The truth is I was surprised, perhaps I was a little too young at the time. It was difficult to leave here, even though I was going through a tough time in Bilbao.

"But, thank God, I soon overcame the difficulties and in the end you only remember the good times. I've had some good times over the last four years so it's easy to forget the bad times."

Pamplona-born Llorente attributes his proficiency on the ball to his formative years at school and - but for a growth spurt which means he now stands at six foot five inches - he might have turned out to be a creative midfielder.

"When I started playing in the school team at seven years of age we played indoor football," he reflected. "I used to enjoy dribbling the ball everywhere and then passing to a team mate to score.

"I really enjoyed it and got used to doing it for my team-mates because I was good at it. I can still dribble, but in my youth I had a very rapid growth spurt; my body changed, so I had to adapt my dribbling style to my new physique."

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