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Mauricio Pochettino convinced me to choose Spurs, not Chelsea - Llorente

Fernando Llorente has said Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino convinced him to join Spurs ahead of Chelsea on transfer deadline day.

Llorente, 32, looked set to be reunited with Antonio Conte, his coach for three years at Juventus, but Spurs gazumped the champions to sign the World Cup winner from Swansea in a deal worth around £12 million hours before the transfer window closed.

"The truth is that Chelsea have been after me for a long time but at the end you know how this works," Llorente told La Vanguardia after making his Spurs debut as a substitute in Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund.

"At the very last minute, Pochettino called me and convinced me.

"The Tottenham project is impressive. They have done very well in the last few years, and I think I fit very well with this project. I think I can help them a lot."

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A 19-year-old Llorente played against Pochettino on his senior debut in January 2005, making his first appearance for Athletic Bilbao in a draw with Espanyol.

The striker added: "It is clear that Pochettino played a very important role in the decision. I have known him since he was playing in Spain.

"I made my first-team debut against him at San Mames. He was at the end of his playing career and I was at the beginning of mine.

"Then he was the Espanyol manager and I faced him several more times. Now I play under him at Tottenham and I really want to give my best."

Llorente called Tottenham "an amazing club" and said: "Hopefully I can score many goals to help the club to achieve their targets."

He did not play for Swansea in preseason because of injury and added: "I'm very happy to have my first minutes, and I couldn't wait.

"Little by little I'm feeling better in myself and looking to find my rhythm. I really want to do my bit."

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.


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