Madrid, Jan 22 (IANS) Juventus are close to signing Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, the Serie A reigning champion's director general Giuseppe Marotta confirmed Tuesday.
"We are not hiding. We are interested in Llorente and have included Athletic Bilbao in the negotiations," Marotta said, reports Xinhua.
"I am optimistic about a rather quick settlement of the contract but the use of the footballer will begin on July 1."
Llorente, 27, said in August that he would not renew his contract, expiring in June, allowing Juventus to sign him as a free agent.
The tall striker has played with Athletic Bilbao since 2004. He has scored 115 goals with Athletic Bilbao and seven in his 21 appearances with the Spanish national team.