How Liverpool could sign Mohamed Salah successor for free

The Saudi-provoked concern about Mohamed Salah's future has led to speculation about who will eventually succeed the Egyptian at Anfield, when he eventually does leave Anfield.

One player regularly named as a potential future Liverpool player is Nico Williams.

The Athletic recently included the Athletic Club and Spain star in a piece outlining potential options for the Reds post-Salah, while Anfield Watch's own Danny Corcoran made the case for the 21-year-old earlier this summer, writing: "Where the Pamplona born forward thrives is in one against ones and progressing the ball up the pitch through his dribbling.

"He ranks in the 95th percentile for progressive carries per 90 (5.9) and the 92nd percentile for successful take ons per 90 (2.81). He does this through his frightening pace and the ability to use both feet."

READ MORE: How will Liverpool replace Mohamed Salah when the time comes?

Seen as a rising star of Spanish football, Williams scored nine goals and registered six assists in 43 games in 2022/23, and has four assists from four so far this season.

Now, Estadio Deportivo report that the Reds were among the clubs who have 'asked about' Williams, while noting the forward has a tempting €50m (£43m) release clause in his contract.

Liverpool aren't the only club interested, however. Williams turned down a move to Aston Villa over the summer, while Estadio Deportivo's piece claims that Barcelona have 'set their sights' on the ten-cap Spain international for next summer.

Williams caught the eye during the international break with an impressive goal and three assists over two games for his country, and his situation is particularly enticing for suitors with his current contract set to expire at the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

It is said that Barça have already contacted Felix Tainta, Williams' agent, to let him know that he is on the club's list of future signings, if he doesn't sign a new deal in Bilbao.

While it is reported that Williams and Athletic Club are currently in talks over new terms, Liverpool would be allowed to agree a pre-contract to sign the young forward on a free transfer next summer from January, if he has not yet extended his current deal by the turn of the year.

READ MORE: 5 too early predictions for Liverpool's January transfer window

However, Mundo Deportivo claim that the player currently only has eyes for a renewal, despite 'dizzying' offers from admiring clubs.

Over at El Correo, meanwhile, it is suggested that the player, who joined Athletic's youth academy ten years ago, is still keeping the door open to joining a top club in the future.

While Williams' talent and contract situation and make him an enticing prospect – and surely a shrewd signing – the chances of actually pulling off a deal may ultimately be slim. The Reds would need to put in considerable groundwork to convince the youngster not to renew at his boyhood club, where his family ties are famously strong.

Williams' older brother, Iñaki, also once turned down a move to Anfield back in 2019.

“I had an option to leave,” the older Williams told AS, when asked about Liverpool's interest. “It’s nice that clubs like this try to get you, but I was always clear that I want to be at Athletic.”

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