• Swansea adds firepower with World Cup winner Llorente

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    SWANSEA, United Kingdom: Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, a member of his country’s 2010 World Cup-winning squad, signed for English Premier League side Swansea City from Sevilla on Saturday.

    The 31-year-old — whose only appearance in the 2010 World Cup campaign was as a substitute in the last-16 win over Portugal — signed a two-year contract with the Swans after passing his medical.

    He is reported to have cost £5 million (5.9m euros, $6.5m).

    Llorente, known as the ‘Lion King’, won two Serie A titles with Juventus and an Italian Cup after joining them from Athletic Bilbao, with whom he had reached the Europa League final and two Spanish Cup finals.

    The striker, scorer of seven goals in his 24 international appearances, said one of the factors in his moving was his admiration for Swansea’s Italian manager Francesco Guidolin.

    “He is a very good trainer and I am very happy to be working with him,” said Llorente.

    “I know him from my time playing in Italy. He is very experienced and has done really well at the clubs he has managed.”

    Llorente — who was also a member of Spain’s Euro 2012 title-winning squad but did not play — could make his debut for Swansea on Saturday in a friendly against French Ligue 1 outfit Rennes.

    A Europa League winner with Sevilla last season, he joins Dutch duo Mike van der Hoorn and Leroy Fer as well as Australian goalkeeper Mark Birighitti as close-season signings.

    Swansea, who have also acquired new owners in the shape of an American consortium who bought a 60 percent stake, will hope Llorente is as productive for them as one of his compatriots.

    Michu scored 22 goals for the club, including one in their League Cup final victory over Bradford City, in the 2012/13 campaign.

    Indeed Llorente set the bar at Michu’s level.

    “I have scored goals in La Liga and Serie A, and now I want to score a lot of goals for the club in the Premier League,” said Llorente.

    “I want to score a lot of goals like Michu. He is a very good player and he did very well here.”

    Llorente will fill the void left up front by the departures of the likes of Portugal’s Euro 2016 final matchwinner Eder and France international Bafetimbi Gomis.

    However, his arrival could well spark the exit of Ghanaian star Andre Ayew, for whom West Ham are reportedly prepared to offer £20 million.

    AFP

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