Athletic Club Board Of Directors Willing To Accept The Backlash Of Signing Fernando Llorente
Throughout his election campaign Aitor Elizegi painted himself a representative of the fans. He said on multiple occasions that he would listen to the Socios, that his door would always be open, when it comes to making any decisions. Athletic are now in talks with Tottenham to sign Fernando Llorente and fans have already been quite outspoken about their opinions on the matter, putting Elizegi in a difficult situation.
During Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Sevilla about 300 fans could be heard chanting “Y Llorente que?” from a section at the San Mamés. It’s clear that many fans are absolutely opposed to the idea of Llorente returning to the club. Some fans refuse to forgive the striker for the way he left back in 2013, but the club believes that the large majority of fans are willing to accept a reunion or even welcome the 34-year-old back.
There’s no doubt about it, if Llorente returns to Athletic there will be backlash and controversy. The club knows it and the Board of Directors are willing to accept it. Manager Gaizka Garitano and Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta have both made the decision, along with President Elizegi, that signing Llorente is a priority. The team needs more depth at forward with Aritz Aduriz about to turn 38 and Gorka Guruzeta and Asier Villalibre still in the process of developing.
Llorente has made it clear that he wants to return to Athletic, even knowing how some fans will respond. He’s already said it publicly on more than one occasion and has asked Tottenham to facilitate the move, which they’ve agreed to do. Athletic believe that signing the striker is absolutely necessary, no matter what some of the fans may feel. Having the majority of fans in favor of the move certainly helps things. As the two clubs move closer and closer to a transfer agreement it’s looking more likely that Fernando Llorente could actually return to the San Mamés in a controversial move which once felt absolutely impossible.