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Nico Williams Transfer News: Arsenal’s key advantage over Chelsea in pursuit of LaLiga superstar

Tom Weber

  • Updated: 11 Mar 2024 16:09 GMT
  • 4 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2023/24

Athletic Club director of football Mikel Gonzalez has spoken about the future of in-demand winger Nico Williams.

The Spain international has become one of LaLiga’s most scintillating talents in recent seasons and he is once again enjoying a productive campaign. The 21-year-old has thus far notched six goals and 12 assists this term, again becoming a sought-after commodity.

Indeed, speculation about his future has been rife all season, with the rumour mill getting particularly heated in late 2023. The youngster would have been out of contract in the summer, allowing him to negotiate with clubs in January, but Athletic Club made sure to prevent that from happening by tying him down to a new deal.

However, the expectation is that Williams will nevertheless depart Bilbao in the upcoming window. The extension was more to avoid losing him for nothing than a real long-term commitment from the winger. Williams now reportedly has a tempting release clause worth just €50 million.

Nico Williams
© IMAGO – Nico Williams

Arsenal’s advantage over Chelsea

Rumours surrounding Williams have begun to swirl again in recent weeks, with both Arsenal and Chelsea hot on his trail. Tottenham have recently joined the race as well, with Bayern also said to be keeping an eye on the Spanish standout.

The speculation has been further fuelled by the announcement that Athletic will sign Alvaro Djalo from SC Braga for €15m in the summer. Also a left-winger, his signing has been interpreted as the Basques preparing for life after Williams.

According to the club’s director of football Mikel Gonzalez, that is not the case, though his words must be taken with a grain of salt. “The arrival of Djaló has nothing to do with Nico,” he said. “We renewed him for three years, we see him super happy. He wants more and wants to play in Europe. It has nothing to do with it.”

Of course, Gonzalez can’t publically announce the impending departure of his side’s biggest talent, but his statement does contain a transfer hint. Williams’ desire to play European football could rule out a move to Chelsea, with the Blues currently languishing in eleventh in the Premier League.

This naturally gives Arsenal a major advantage over the Blues, though Williams will likely also play in Europe next term if he were to stay at Athletic. Ernesto Valverde’s side are enjoying a brilliant campaign and are currently fifth in LaLiga.

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