Milan's Pato set to sign for Corinthians, Juve eye Llorente

Corinthians are to sign Italy's AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato for 15 million euros (12 million pounds) in a further boost to the Brazilian club as the team aim to defend their Copa Libertadores and World Club Cup titles.

Meanwhile, Italian champions Juventus have informed Athletic Bilbao that they will start talks with the La Liga club's Spain striker Fernando Llorente with a view to signing him, Bilbao said on Thursday.

Corinthians said on its official website that the 23-year-old striker had agreed terms and would sign a four-year deal in the coming days.

The signing is the second big capture for the Sao Paulo-based club in the close season, coming just days after it brought home attacking midfielder Renato Augusto from Bayer Leverkusen.

 Milans Pato set to sign for Corinthians, Juve eye Llorente

The signing is the second big capture for the Sao Paulo-based club in the close season. Reuters

The two players are likely to make Corinthians even harder to beat. The club won the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League, at a canter last year, conceding only four goals in 14 unbeaten games. The team then went to Japan and beat Chelsea 1-0 to lift the World Club Cup.

Corinthians said the player waived any signing bonus in order to make the deal take place. Instead, he will get 40 percent of any future transfer fee.

The talented but inconsistent striker was plagued by injury at Milan, the club he joined as a 17-year old sensation from Brazil's Internacional in 2007. Pato played just 150 times in five years for the rossoneri, scoring 63 goals. He also has 22 caps for the Brazilian national squad and scored nine goals.

The signing is the latest in a string of high-profile deals that highlight the new found spending power of Brazil's soccer clubs.

In recent years, leading players including Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Deco and Ronaldinho Gaucho have all signed for Brazilian teams, while foreigners Clarence Seedorf and Diego Forlan have also crossed the Atlantic.

The trend comes because European teams are suffering the effects of an economic crisis, while their counterparts in Brazil are earning more than ever before thanks to increased TV deals, more sponsorship cash and higher ticket prices.

Llorente set for Turin

"Juventus Football Club informed Athletic Club on January 3 that, knowing Fernando Llorente will end his stint at our club on June 30, 2013, they will begin negotiations with the player to incorporate him into their squad," Bilbao said in a statement on their website.

Llorente, a tall and powerful forward known as "the Lion King" for his mane of blond hair, has barely featured for Bilbao since making his intention to leave when his contract ends in June known to the Basque club.

A product of their youth academy, the Pamplona-born 27-year-old made his debut for the first team in 2005 and has scored 115 goals in 317 appearances over nine seasons.

He has a market value of 30 million euros $39.7 million (24.5 million pounds), according to transfermarkt.com, which tracks deals for soccer players.

Reuters

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2013 13:56:09 IST