According to reports from Spain, Liverpool are lurking in the race to sign a gifted young winger for free in January.
AS have claimed that the Reds – along with Aston Villa and Barcelona – are ‘on the prowl’ for Nico Williams, whose current deal at Athletic Bilbao is set to expire next June.
That means the 21-year-old could sign a pre-contract with a club outside LaLiga from the beginning of 2024, although his employers are determined to keep hold of him beyond that point.
San Mames chief Jon Uriarte is adamant that the forward is ‘very happy’ in the Basque region and that both sides are ‘working hard’ to try and reach an agreement over new terms.
Williams currently earns just under £58,000 per week in Bilbao (Capology), which doesn’t seem a massive high wage for someone who was labelled a ‘true winger’ by his former Spain coach Luis Enrique and a ‘difference maker’ by international teammate Rodri (Sportstar).
The youngster has already supplied four assists in as many LaLiga matches in the early weeks of the campaign, with 23 goal contributions in 89 senior appearances for Athletic thus far (Transfermarkt).
He has played on the left flank in recent games but is primarily a right winger, something that Liverpool could be seeking next year if they’re ultimately unable to prevent Mo Salah from leaving, should Al-Ittihad push strongly for the Egyptian once more in the next few months.
Williams excels at running with the ball into dangerous areas of the pitch, with his match average of 5.73 progressive carries placing him in the top 6% of positional peers across Europe’s five main leagues over the past year (FBref).
He carries a market value of €21.3m (£18.3m) by Football Transfers but Athletic would surely demand far more than that if they were to sell him.
To pick up a 21-year-old right winger for free, particularly one with such a capability for getting fans off their seats, would be exceptional business by Liverpool if they were to pull it off – depending on what happens with his contact situation in Bilbao between now and January.