By Jamie Sanderson

Llorente has been locked in negotiations over a new contract with Bilbao for around two months, and turned down their opening offer of a three-year extension in early July, after the club refused to double his wages.

Man City and Chelsea target Fernando Llorente turns down Bilbao contract

The 27-year-old has less than 12 months left to run on his current £40,000-a-week deal, and while the La Liga side are willing to boost that to £60,000-a-week, he has told Bilbao to aim closer to £80,000.

It’s a demand that has upset the Basque side, who view Llorente as a club legend, and after the talks turned sour earlier this week, the player has now told them he wants to move on.

Bilbao are still hopeful they will be able to convince him to stay, but are wary that Llorente would be a free agent in less than a year, and can negotiate with other clubs from January onwards.

The six-foot-five-inch powerhouse is considered one of the best marksmen in Europe, having scored 90 goals in 236 matches during a seven-year spell at Bilbao.

As such, he has no shortage of admirers, with Real Madrid and AC Milan both trying to buy the striker in recent seasons, but it now appears his most likely destination will be England.

Llorente has been watched by scouts from Manchester City intensively in the last 18 months, and they are now ready to make a bid, if they can move out Edin Dzeko, as expected.

City would have no problem doubling his wages, and would even be willing to hand him a hefty signing on fee.

But Roberto Mancini will face competition, with Chelsea also keeping an interested eye out, having stepped up their pursuit for a new striker in the last week.

It’s thought Bilbao would do business this summer for £15 million.