The archetype that Serie A fans have created for Llorente is that he is a quintessential Prima Punta, a classic # 9 to be used for his aerial ability, strength and the ability to defend the ball. You might think that one is describing Liverpool’s Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch of Stoke City.
After being appointed to Athletic, Marcelo Bielsa has played with 4 different formations. A 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2, and his favorite one 3-3-1-3. All of these modules had one thing in common, they were built around Fernando Llorente. With some exceptions, Llorente was joined by Iker Muniain on the left and Susaeta on the right with Ander Herrera to support, behind Llorente.
However, the game was built around Llorente to take advantage of his skills in the classic role of “Aurrelaria”, this essentially means that the game is centered on Llorente as a reference point. Fernando throughout the year has played a specialized role of “False 9” in which he used his underrated creativity, the use of being ambidextrous, dribbling, aerial ability, strength insurmountable, and his propensity to charge the weight of the team, just as HE did under Capaross (previous Athletic coach) year after year.
All THE inconsistent criticism on the lack of ability to finalize, the lack of commitment and lack of incisiveness against provincial teams are forgotten thanks to his complete game, geometric, his absolute ability to keep absolute ball, which were the hallmark of his great performance and the calamity of central defenders of level went into the flask for the accuracy of his constant dribble.
This year has been relegated to the bench permanently except sporadic attendance, every 2-3 weeks.
Bielsa and Llorente initially had a discussion because of his desire to move to the club of which he was a fan as a child, Juventus.
Since then Llorente and Bielsa have formed a temporary truce, in which the leadership of Llorente has been used to help the locker room that needed a morale boost at least after a disastrous season for Athletic, a victim of tiredness of last year. As we know, a striker in that role needs to maintain constant physical fitness and morale, confidence and the need to play continuously, for this purpose, are essential. Llorente is considered a legend of Athletic, but the fierce fury of the Basque fans, caused by his untimely willingness to ask for the transfer cost him the constant presence on the bench and the lack of actual playing time on the field.
On the rare appearances, still managed to show flashes of his class, technique and intelligence, despite the environmental conditions and the lack of trust ensure that it becomes more and more the shadow of the player he was.
This relegates him in a state of inertia, so Llorente will need a large amount of time to recover. Antonio Conte is a charismatic leader and even more tactical. Nevertheless, I fear that he can deploy Llorente in the classic role of “PrimaPunta,” a role that will hinder his ability and his characteristics as complete striker. It is imperative for Conte to allow Llorente to play a role, that:
-Does not limit his freedom.
-Triggers the ability to finalize the operation, making all play better.
-Has a hearty support from the sides and from behind, to create voids and passing options coming to meet the ball.
-Not limit only to scoring goals and to use his aerial ability.
In other words, the False 9 “Aurrelaria,” a role that brought him to another level under Bielsa, the role in which Capaross and Vicente del Bosque did not had the courage to propose.
How will he succeed?
As mentioned earlier, the state of inertia that Llorente, an unfortunate victim, will force the Basque in a abundant period of time to recover and regain the lost momentum confidence in an ambitious team like the Juventino one.
The acclimatization in a league meticulously tactical, with a different language and a new game system, will initially create difficulties for Llorente. Llorente will not be performing immediately, but if properly managed and properly placed mainly by Conte, the attacker can become world class in Juventus.
An mediocre attacker, would not even be able to recover from such factors.
If they all converge on the idea to help him back to his best, will fill the obvious void in front of Juventus attack, a role for which Conte calls for a striker able to work well under pressure and in tight spaces, a creative element that acts as glue between midfield and front line. A man who can win games almost single-handedly.
He will need time.
The question I ask myself is: the goals should be the only measure for evaluating the future performance of Fernando at Juventus?
For a player who contributes in many ways to play on the team, I think it is too restrictive and harsh.
Age is just a number for players like Llorente who rely less on their physicality and more on the technical side and the continuous evolution of their game, features that have always been part of Fernando.
article by: Rafael Santiago Enzo