Bilbao sweat over Llorente renewal

Athletic Bilbao are still no nearer getting star striker Fernando Llorente to pen a new deal at San Mames, reports AS.

The Spanish international has returned to the club after 18 days of holiday following Spain’s successful Euro 2012 campaign, but it appears negotiations are not going to plan.

The 27-year-old, who has been with the Basques his entire professional career, is out of contract in June 2013 and is aware he will be able to talk to other clubs as a free agent from January 1, when the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will not have to pay the €36m rescission clause in his current agreement.

Nonetheless, despite Bilbao pulling out all the stops to keep him at the club, a sticking point to any deal is reportedly the size of Llorente’s wages, with Los Leones having offered him €4.5m-a-year but the player’s agent, his brother Chus, holding out for €1m more.

The salary proposed by Athletic is well above the average earned by the rest of the squad and it is understood an uneasy calm now exists between both parties, particularly since boss Marcelo Bielsa has allegedly demanded that Llorente makes more of a contribution in big games to justify his high earnings.

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