Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente set to join Juventus

Fernando Llorente has fallen out with the Atheltic Bilbao hierarchy Photo: PA

Fernando Llorente appears set to join Juventus after the Italian champions revealed they were close to completing a deal for the Spain striker.

Juventus chief executive Beppe Marotta confirmed before tonight's 4-0 success over Udinese that the Turin club were in pole position to sign the sought-after striker.

Llorente announced at the start of the season that he would leave Athletic Bilbao when his contract runs out in the summer.

There had been reports the 27-year-old could leave San Mames before then, but Marotta indicated any move would likely wait until after the season.

"I do not deny that with Llorente and his entourage we are very advanced in our talks," he was quoted as saying in Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I am very optimistic although we may have to wait until July 1."

Marotta also played down suggestions the club were ready to sell Arturo Vidal and denied the club had recieved a bid amid reported interest from Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

"We have received requests for our players, but we are generally more accustomed to buying than selling," he said.

"It's no real surprise that Bayern want him, but there are no offers."