For much of the transfer window so far, Tammy Abraham looked set to join Newcastle United on loan for the season. Having forged a good relationship with Chelsea through the loan of Christian Atsu as well as manager Rafa Benitez, the Magpies seemed on course to bolster their return to the Premier League with the presence of the teenage goal-machine. Brighton emerged as contenders as well, but then in the space of just a few days, Swansea City swooped in and, pending the official announcement, sealed the deal.
How did the Swans steal a beat on the others? Other than reminding us once again that we never truly know what’s going on behind the scenes during Silly Season, Swansea were apparently ready to offer something the others weren’t: first-team assurances. That’s the story that the Newcastle-based Chronicle are going with, and that’s a story that also fits the recent re-emergence of the Fernando Llorente rumors.
The Chronicle “understands” that Abraham was not the Magpies primary target for reinforcement at striker (with or without Aleksandar Mitrovic leaving) and that was at least part of the reason Benitez & Co were eventually “knocked back”.
The implication then is that Swansea must have been willing to make Tammy their primary objective, which then implies that their current first-choice striker, Fernando Llorente, is on his way out. That’s not entirely surprising, given his excellent second-half to last season, his expectation of summer bidding, as well as the pretty serious Chelsea rumors during January. In fact, Llorente rumors have now cropped up again in both the Times and the Star.
Chelsea’s reported interest in Llorente does have the same implications as in January, namely that it would free up a loan move for Michy Batshuayi, which has been one of the longer-running rumors around Chelsea.
So, Costa & Batshuayi out, Lukaku & Llorente in? That may seem drastic, but Conte once had designs on that latter pairing at Juventus (before going with Morata instead as an option alongside Llorente).