Fernando Llorente might stay at Bilbao

Madrid: Days after Athletic Bilbao knocked English champions Manchester United out of the Europa League, striker Fernando Llorente gave his club's supporters yet another reason to be happy as he looks set to sign a new deal with the club.

Llorente scored his side's opening goal as Athletic beat Manchester United 2-1 in the Europa League Thursday night to earn a quarterfinal tie against German side Schalke 04.

The Spanish international will be out of contract in 2013 and his form over the past seasons means that he is on the wanted list of some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Athletic, who have a policy of only using players born or raised in the Basque country in the north of Spain, have already worked to assure the futures of young stars such as Javi Martinez, Oscar de Marcos and Inigo Perez and now it looks as if Llorente is also close to signing a new contract.

"Everything is going well and the two parties (player and club) are happy," Llorente was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The striker is a doubt for this weekend's home game against Valencia with a hip injury that forced him out of the Manchester United game before half-time.

If he fails to recover, Ibai Gomez will lead the Athletic attack as they take on the side currently third in the Spanish Primera Liga.

With an average age of just 23 years, Athletic has the youngest squad in the Primera Liga and hopes are high in Bilbao that the squad will remain united under coach Marcelo Bielsa with a view to improving still further next season.