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Real Madrid join the race to sign Nico Williams

Real Madrid join the race to sign Nico Williams

Nico Williams, 21, is the hottest property in Bilbao and also in Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad. His contract with Athletic expires in seven months and there are several big clubs keeping a close eye on his situation. Among those interested are the Premier League’s big four, as well as Barcelona and, according to AS, Real Madrid. The Whites have joined the list of clubs who have the Pamplona-born forward on their agenda. Barça were the first to make their move to show their interest in the young Athletic winger.

However, the delicate financial situation at the Camp Nou means that they cannot compete in the event of a hypothetical bidding war, which will take place as the season progresses. The card that Barça are playing is to try to convince Nico Williams of the suitability of Xavi’s project and the friendship he has with some of the players in the Barça squad (Iñigo Martínez, for example). Madrid, on the other hand, have their healthy finances and the possibility of making a transfer that would satisfy Athletic, in line with Nico’s current release clause (50 million euros), as their main argument.

In the Bernabéu’s boardroom, signing Nico Williams for that price is seen as an interesting option. And for his youth, since at just 21 years old he has already established himself as one of the most disruptive players in Spanish football and a regular in Luis de la Fuente’s plans for Spain.

But the siren songs are not only coming to Nico Williams from our league. In the Premier League there are also clubs who are very interested in signing him (several big names in the English championship, with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top, and also Aston Villa and Newcastle). However, the winger’s priority would be to stay in Spain. And if he had to choose between Madrid and Barça, his first choice would always be to wear the shirt of the 14-time Champions League winners. Playing for Madrid is a great motivation…

Renewing with a condition

At the Palacio de Ibaigane, Athletic’s headquarters, they are working against the clock to try to secure the renewal of their jewel before the end of 2023 and avoid him being able to leave next summer for free (on 1 January he could sign for another club). At the moment, Nico’s release clause is 50 million euros and the Bilbao club wanted to raise it a little more. However, as the days go by, the most likely option is that the clause will remain at its current level.

Whatever happens, Nico Williams is clear that, if he leaves Athletic next summer, he will not do so for free. That is why his willingness to renew is total, but with the condition that his release clause is not increased. Real Madrid is also on the same page and any move to sign Nico would be in line with the good institutional relations between the two clubs. This gives Madrid an advantage over Barça, who would only sign him if he came with a free transfer. Something that Nico Williams does not contemplate.

The player speaks out: “I have made my decision”

If Nico Williams joins the Whites, it will be after paying a transfer fee and, contrary to what Barça wants, Madrid and the big Premier League clubs are willing to pay up if the release clause of 50 million is maintained. The Spanish international does not hide, as he reflected yesterday in statements to El Periódico de España: “The fact that big teams like Barça, Madrid or English clubs are interested in me means that I am doing my job well,” he acknowledges when asked about his future.

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