Thursday Kickoff: Juve in talks with Llorente, EPL midfielders on the move, and more

BY DAN KARELL

Spanish forward Fernando Llorente is set to become a free agent this summer, but he might not wind up waiting that long to leave Athletic Bilbao for a new club.

Athletic have announced that Llorente has entered contract negotiations with Italian champions Juventus on a contract ahead of a potential winter transfer move.

Llorente has fallen out of favor with Athletic Bilbao since refusing to sign a new contract with the Spanish first division club. He has barely played this season.

Juventus is trying to beat big spenders like Manchester City and Tottenham to the punch by signing him in January to hopefully give the Turin club a reliable goal scorer. Juve has struggled to find a forward to provide a consistent threat.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday started:

COLE SET FOR WEST HAM AS BENYOUN RETURNS TO CHELSEA

In the wake of the Daniel Sturridge transfer to Liverpool and the Demba Ba transfer to Chelsea, Joe Cole, currently on the books at Liverpool, is heading back to his former club West Ham for a fee of around £3 million while Yossi Benayoun is leaving the Hammers to rejoin Chelsea.

Cole has only made six substitute appearances for Liverpool this season, after spending last season on loan with Lille in Ligue 1, playing alongside Eden Hazard, now on London rivals Chelsea.

Cole is due to have his medical today, and if he signs before Noon on Friday he’ll be available for this weekend’s FA Cup match against Manchester United.

Benayoun returns to Chelsea after an injury-hit loan spell with West Ham that saw him make just six appearance for the East London club.

“MAZA” RETURNS TO MEXICO WITH CLUB AMERICA

Francisco Rodriguez, also known as “Maza”, has completed his transfer to Club America in Liga MX from German club VFB Stuttgart.

The Mexican center back has played for El Tri in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and is arriving just in time for the Clausura Tournament, where he will go up against his old club, Chivas Guadalajara.

Rodriguez first moved abroad in 2008 with a move to PSV Eindhoven in Holland, before moving to Stuttgart in 2011.

DEMBA BA NEARLY SIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED

Following last night’s 2-1 defeat to Everton, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admitted that Demba Ba was sold, and gave the striker his blessing to move on.

The Senegalese goal-scorer has been in negotiations with Chelsea since the weekend, and it was announced yesterday via a club statement that the two clubs had agreed on a transfer fee, and the deal could be processed.

Ba is due for a medical with Chelsea today at their team headquarters in London.

QUICK KICKS

Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli were allegedly involved in a training ground scuffle, which could be the last straw that signals the end of Balotelli’s time in Manchester. (REPORT)

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is interested in signing free-agent Israeli international defender Tal Ben-Haim. (REPORT)

Enrique Cerezo, president of Spanish club Atletico de Madrid, believes star striker Radamel Falcao’s next destination will be their cross-town rivals, Real Madrid. (REPORT)

Former Inter Milan striker Adriano says he is back training and wants to return to play football in 2013. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Think Llorente could be a star at Juve? What kind of impact do you see Maza having with Club America? Think Balotelli’s days in Manchester are numbered?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Juve in talks with Llorente, EPL midfielders on the move, and more

  1. AD22 says:

    It seems that Chelsea really has no need for Benayoun any longer; his concurrent loan stints to Arsenal and West Ham kind of prove that. I wonder if they’ll let him walk with only 6 months left on his contract, with rumors swirling that he was being shopped to MLS clubs.

    • Dlewis says:

      He would do well in the mls, not sure if he’s personally wants that move though. Seems to still be garnering interest from premier league sides.

  2. beto says:

    really hope that Falcao doesn’t move to the other side of Madrid.

    as for Balotelli, an AC Milan transfer would be great for both parties but I don’t think City’s owners want that…

    lastly, Club America is looking strong, if they can get into the CCL there should be some great games between Xolos, America, SKC, LA, Houston and SJ.

  3. yikes says:

    Juventus. That would be a great move. Theyre in the CL and he`s a solid 15 goal a season striker. Shame he didnt play in the Euros

  4. Stubbs says:

    I think Mancini leaves City before Balotelli.. There’s only about 5 or 6 clubs that can afford his transfer and his wages, none of which are in Italian

    • Dinho says:

      His transfer and wages must be written down in Italian?

      • Beto says:

        He is still paid in Liras, they told him that they are out of circulation but Mario gets what Mario wants

    • yikes says:

      How much is he on? No more than 100k a week. Id say hes worth 50-60 but im sure Man City pay him double. They overpay for everything

    • Don Dallas says:

      How many “last straws” is MB on at this point?

      And Tevez was never going to play for Man City again too.

      I don’t beleive anything that comes out of Mancini. Let me know a couple weeks after it is “done”.

  5. Dudester says:

    Newcastle really messed up not putting a higher release clause on Ba’s contract.Im not sure how long he has left on his current one, even if it’s a year left they should have made it more than 10 mil pounds.Dempsey and Van Persie had one year left and they went for 7m and 24m

  6. Dudester says:

    Supposedly he wants to go so Peckerman can get a better look at him.Hes not gonna beat out Falcao, Jackson Martinez or James Rodriguez.I honestly think hes not even good enough to make the squad with guys like Darwin Quintero and also Pabon behind them.

  7. fortunate only says:

    You talking about Freddy Montero?

  8. yikes says:

    10 best strikers of the past decade?

    Henry, Ronaldo, Van Ristlerooy, Eto’o, Villa, Torres, Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Drogba, Forlan, Shevchenko,

  9. fischy says:

    Adriano would look pretty good in DC United’s black uni. Just saying…..

  10. wides says:

    I think the Joe Cole number is a little off… he’s going on a free transfer. Liverpool is paying him 3 million and West Ham is picking up the rest of his wages.

    Nobody would pay 3 million for Cole at this point except to get him OFF your team.