Liverpool face competition for Nico Williams as Athletic Club president speaks out

Liverpool have once again been named as tracking Nico Williams, with the forward's contract at Athletic Club running down.

21-year-old Williams is one of the rising stars of Spanish football, having scored nine goals and registered six assists in 43 games in 2022/23.

Last month, reports in Spain claimed that the Reds were among the clubs who have 'asked about' Williams, who has a €50m (£43m) release clause.

Interest in Williams is high. With his current contract in Bilbao due to expire next summer, Unai Emery's Aston Villa and Barcelona have also been linked.

Mundo Deportivo previously claimed that the forward – whose brother Iñaki also plays for Athletic Club and was once linked with Liverpool – has received 'dizzying' offers from his admirers.

Now 90min claim that Liverpool are among a 'quartet' of Premier League clubs – along with Arsenal, Tottenham and Villa – who would be interested in moving for Williams if he chooses not to renew his deal.

In addition, the report claims that European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Juventus are also monitoring the situation.

As it stands, Williams will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with any club outside of Spain from January, if he hasn't signed a new deal with Athletic.

However, Athletic Club president Jon Uriarte has insisted the Basque club are 'calm' about their star asset's renewal.

He said: "We are calm. We want an attractive project for Nico and other players, like Unai Gomez, who renewed his contract this week.

"We trust that Nico will find the project attractive, and we believe that will be the case. His family is loyal to Athletic and it's the best for his career. As for possible rumours, we have no idea."

Nico Williams, ProShots

Williams' family have strong ties to Athletic – who famously only pick Basque players.

Nico's 29-year-old older brother Iñaki, who has spent his entire career in Bilbao – supposedly turned down a move to Anfield back in 2019.

“I had an option to leave,” he 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.”

If the younger Williams does decide to opt for a new challenge away from his home city, he could be an option for Liverpool in a post-Mohamed Salah world next summer – should the Egyptian leave for the Saudi Pro League.

Though the two are very different forwards, Anfield Watch's own Danny Corcoran recently made the case for Williams as an attractive Salah successor, 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."

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