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Waiting for Fernando Llorente to make an impact at Juventus

Claudio Villa

If you came to this place expecting to see somebody complaining about the lack of playing time Fernando Llorente has received thus far, then you might have come to the wrong place. There's plenty of complaining going on around the internet, but not in this post. Not today, not tomorrow.

Yes, it's true that the Lion King has only played about two more minutes in Serie A more than any of us who frequent this corner of the internet. And yes, it's true that Llorente probably could have helped Juventus in some kind of capacity the last couple of matches that have frustrating the living hell out of many of us.

The Italian media is mopping all of it up. The Llorente talk has gone from hyping up his arrival in Turin to talk of him leaving. Funny, that. I think we can leave all the wild speculation to the Italian media. They seem to be pretty well-versed in the ways of blowing things totally out of proportion and turn things into much more than they actually are.


(I mean, he is pretty handsome. The rumors are true — the ladies do love him.)

This is not about consisting of rants about what Llorente hasn't been doing on the field for Juventus lately. The reason for all of this, though, is that Llorente is still an unknown commodity when it comes to what he can do for Juventus. This is about what Llorente still has to prove.

I didn't know what to really expect from Llorente when he first arrived on a free transfer this summer. Not because I don't think he's a good player. He's clearly a quality or else Juventus probably wouldn't have chased him for months on end last season. You don't score the amount of goals he did in La Liga as just an average player. I didn't know what to expect because of everything that had gone on at Athletic Bilbao 12 months prior to Llorente's introductory press conference.

For the amount of talk there currently is going on in the Italian media, we're forgetting something rather important: Juventus is only three Serie A and four total games into the season. Remember when Arturo Vidal first joined Juve? He didn't start right away, either. Sure, he actually played. But it's not like he hopped right into Antonio Conte's starting lineup from the very beginning. There was an adjustment period and a time for adaptation to Conte's rigorous tactics. We all remember the photo of a new-signed Vidal getting a first-hand tactics lesson from Conte himself.

For all we know, it could be the same kind of adjustment for the 28-year-old Spaniard.

We've heard exit rumors for a few weeks now. While they're completely hilarious to begin with, I can't help but ask myself one question: Why would Llorente want to leave Turin after sacrificing a year of his career — one in his prime, no less — to make sure his move to Juventus happened?

That's the thing. Say Llorente did play as much last season as he had in the past. Maybe we're not sitting here talking about any of this. Maybe Llorente comes to Juventus and is playing from the opening whistle more often than not. Maybe I'm not writing about his lack of playing time and instead lauding the impact he has made thus far in the early goings of the season.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. A whole lot of maybes.

Instead, the reality is that Llorente played less than 600 minutes last season and, in Conte's mind, that takes time to recover from. It's pretty understandable because it's more than likely the complete truth. For as much as Conte frustrates us all with some of his squad choices some of the time, this is the same person who was a pair of Scudetti and brought Juventus back to being the Juventus of old.

I think he's done enough to earn our trust when it comes to important decisions. Much, much more than enough.

So while people are talking about the next place Fernando Llorente will play, I'm just going to wait for his contributions to the team he currently wears the colors of. That seems like a reasonable idea.