A calculated risk? – Man United must take the plunge and sign this veteran hitman who is available for free

Fernando Llorente could be a smart signing for Man United

According to The Sun, Man United are on the verge of signing Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente, who is currently a free agent following his departure from Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the summer. 

The 34-year-old left the North London club upon the expiry of his contract but United are apparently keen to offer him an escape route, with the report suggesting that the Red Devils have lined up the veteran frontman as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku. 

Lukaku’s £74 million switch to Inter Milan on transfer deadline day has left United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short of options in the centre-forward role and Llorente has been identified as someone who could possibly add much-needed experience, depth and variety to an attack that is apparently a bit over-reliant on pace. 

The likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have both found the net so far in the Premier League this season but United are still short of cover in the final third and Solskjaer seems to be wary of the fact that he could possibly face a burnout if either of the two strikers is forced out of action with an injury.

United are not alone in the race to sign the 34-year-old, though, with The Sun claiming that Llorente is also being courted heavily by Italian clubs Lazio and Napoli. 

However, the lure of a move to Old Trafford in the dying stages of his career, coupled with the prospect of staying in the Premier League, might prove too much for the towering centre-forward to resist. 

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Llorente, who made his move to Spurs in 2017 after netting 15 goals for Swansea City in the Premier League in the 2016-17 campaign, went on to register 13 goals and 6 assists in 66 appearances for the Lilywhites over the course of two seasons. 

Those numbers might look pretty mediocre on paper but, in all honesty, the veteran did pretty well in his role as an understudy to the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, with a lion share of those appearances coming as brief cameos from the bench. 

Despite that, however, the former Athletic Bilbao and Juventus star proved his worth as a wily old fox in front of goal last season when Kane was sidelined with an injury, scoring some crucial goals to propel the Lilywhites to the finals of the UEFA Champions League. 

To put things into perspective, Man United’s links with Fernando Llorente isn’t likely to get the fans at Old Trafford off their feet but the 34-year-old might as well prove to be a handy addition to the squad before the end of the month. 

The Premier League clubs are still allowed to sign free agents until the end of August and the veteran Spaniard is certainly worth a punt for the Red Devils, given his availability on a free transfer. 

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The move might prove to be a masterstroke from Solskjaer if it pays off and even if it doesn’t produce the desired results, the loss in terms of finances would be quite meagre. Hence, United do not have too much to worry about the negative consequences of bringing in an ageing star like Llorente.

On the contrary, the Spaniard’s technical abilities on the ball, physical presence inside the box, subtle offensive movement, slick link-up play, as well as supreme aerial abilities and poaching instincts, is likely to add another dimension to United’s attack. 

The Red Devils already have a lot of pace and flair in their attacking ranks but Llorente could provide Solskajer with a much-needed focal point in front of goal, whilst his ability to turn the tables from the bench should also prompt United to play a low-cost gamble on him. 

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Keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, United should not hesitate to take a calculated risk and offer the 34-year-old a chance to stay in the Premier League.  

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc.
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