Soccer transfer talk: Juve to sign Llorente
Italian champions Juventus have informed Athletic Bilbao that they will start talks with the La Liga club's Spain striker Fernando Llorente with a view to signing him, Bilbao said on Thursday.
"Juventus Football Club informed Athletic Club on January 3 that, knowing Fernando Llorente will end his stint at our club on June 30, 2013, they will begin negotiations with the player to incorporate him into their squad," Bilbao said in a statement on their website (www.athletic-club.net).
Llorente, a tall and powerful forward known as "the Lion King" for his mane of blond hair, has barely featured for Bilbao since making his intention to leave when his contract ends in June known to the Basque club.
A product of their youth academy, the Pamplona-born 27-year-old made his debut for the first team in 2005 and has scored 115 goals in 317 appearances over nine seasons.He has a market value of 30 million euros, according to transfermarkt.com, which tracks deals for soccer players.
Image: Fernando Llorente
Photographs: Michal Cizek/EuroFootball/Getty Images
Chelsea recall Benayoun from Hammers
Chelsea have recalled Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun from his loan spell at fellow London club West Ham United after the European champions suffered a shock 1-0 defeat by the Premier League's bottom side Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.
"Yossi Benayoun has completed his loan spell at West Ham United and returns to Chelsea today," the club said in a statement on their website (www.chelseafc.com) on Thursday.Benayoun, who last played for West Ham on November 11 due to knee trouble, has scored once for Chelsea in 11 appearances since he joined from Liverpool in 2010.
Image: Yossi Benayoun of West Ham United
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
World club champs Corinthians to sign AC Milan's Pato
Corinthians are to sign Italy's AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato for 15 million euros (12 million pounds) in a further boost to the Brazilian club as the team aim to defend their Copa Libertadores and World Club Cup titles.
Corinthians said on its official website (www.corinthians.com.br) that the 23-year-old striker had agreed terms and would sign a four-year deal in the coming days.
The signing is the second big capture for the Sao Paulo-based club in the close season, coming just days after it brought home attacking midfielder Renato Augusto from Bayer Leverkusen.
The two players are likely to make Corinthians even harder to beat. The club won the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League, at a canter last year, conceding only four goals in 14 unbeaten games. The team then went to Japan and beat Chelsea 1-0 to lift the World Club Cup.
Corinthians said the player waived any signing bonus in order to make the deal take place. Instead, he will get 40 percent of any future transfer fee.
The talented but inconsistent striker was plagued by injury at Milan, the club he joined as a 17-year old sensation from Brazil's Internacional in 2007. Pato played just 150 times in five years for the rossoneri, scoring 63 goals. He also has 22 caps for the Brazilian national squad and scored nine goals.
The signing is the latest in a string of high-profile deals that highlight the new found spending power of Brazil's soccer clubs.
Image: Alexandre Pato
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Barca's 'keeper Valdes ready to move out of Spain
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has opened the door to a possible move away from Spain when his contract with the La Liga leaders expires at the end of next season.
Valdes, Spain's number two behind Iker Casillas, will be 31 this month and has been at Barca since he joined the club's academy in 1995, making his debut for the first team in the 2002-03 season.
At a news conference previewing Sunday's La Liga match at home to Espanyol, Valdes did not rule out the possibility of trying "other cultures, other leagues and other countries".
"I renewed my contract in 2009 and it has never been an issue for me since," he said.
"It's not the moment to think about it now, there's still time. I am focused on winning games and time will tell."
A brilliant shot stopper and a talented ball player, Valdes has won Spain's Zamora award for the fewest goals conceded in La Liga for the past four seasons.He is one of only two men to have it won five times along with his predecessor at Barca Antoni Ramallets, who played in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Image: Victor Valdes
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images