When Fernando Llorente left Athletic Club back in 2013 it left fans feeling betrayed and angry. The golden boy who was breaking scoring records and still in the prime of his career decided not to renew his contract and instead left for free to sign with Italian giants Juventus. Even in training sessions before the season was over fans would flock to Lezama to whistle the striker and shouted “Traitor” at him whenever there was an opportunity. Now, five years later, there is talk of a return.
Llorente recently admitted in an interview that, if Athletic made the offer, he would seriously consider returning to the San Mamés. He even went as far to call Athletic his home. It was a simple question posed to a 33-year-old who looks set to leave Tottenham this summer and there have been no reports of the Lions actually showing interest in signing Llorente this summer, but nonetheless a lot of fans were outraged that he would even say such things after the way he left the club.
With social media abuzz with discussions about whether or not Athletic should bring back Llorente, a former club legend decided to weigh in. In a recent interview with Onda Cero, Andoni Goikoetxea said that “If it were up to me, Fernando Llorente would already be back at Athletic, but there is a large group that will not agree”. His statement is sure to add fuel to the fire of conversations, but does show that there is also a large group that would welcome the striker back and show forgiveness.
As of right now there is nothing suggesting that Fernando Llorente is on Athletic Club’s list of summer transfer targets. That being said, it is obvious that the squad needs help at striker and who knows what that could lead to. If the Lezama product did return to the San Mamés there would be fans that would cheer and others who would protest. For many, forgiveness isn’t that easy and may even be impossible because of the past.