Athletic Bilbao forced to release Nico Williams transfer statement amid Liverpool links

Nico Williams of Spain acknowledges the fans after being awarded the Vivo Player of the Match award after the team's victory in the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Spain and Italy at Arena AufSchalke on June 20, 2024 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
-Credit: (Image: Michael Regan - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Athletic Bilbao has released a bizarre statement surrounding the future of winger Nico Williams amid continued reports he will leave the La Liga club this summer.

The 21-year-old hotshot has been on fire for Spain at Euro 2024 and has attracted plenty more suitors as a result of his performances, making it even more likely he'll be on the move.

Williams has started five of Spain's six games in Germany, playing an important part to help La Roja brush aside every team on their way to Sunday's final in Berlin - where they'll play England. The attacker even grabbed himself a goal and an assist in the 4-1 victory over Georgia in the Last 16, returning to the starting lineup after sitting out in the final group stage game against Albania.

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As a result of his performances, the Bilbao academy product has been linked with a big money move to the Premier League ahead of the new season, with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal already linked. Liverpool are also reportedly keen on a move for the starlet, while Barcelona could pounce if they see an opportunity.

But amid all the transfer talk, Williams' current club have hit back at all the speculation by claiming their in-demand player is not for sale. In an official club statement, Bilbao said that the recent rumors and reports of a move for the youngster have been "excessive" and done so in an "uncontrolled" manner.

The statement read: "Nico, a footballer very committed to Athletic Club, has been subjected to a bombardment of questions about his future in an excessive and uncontrolled manner, when he is concentrated to compete in the Euro Cup by the Spanish Football Federation, which has not known how to protect him.

"Athletic aspires to the maximum, without limits. We are showing that we have an attractive and winning project for our players and coach. The proof is that we have recently renewed two of our internationals, Simón (2029) and Vivian (2031), Nico.

"He signed last year until 2027, and coveted players such as Oihan Sancet, Benat Prados, Julen Agirrezabala, and Aitor Paredes have also been committed for several seasons, to give some examples.

Nico Williams of Spain has attracted attention from a host of leading European clubs after his showings for club and country
Nico Williams of Spain has attracted attention from a host of leading European clubs after his showings for club and country -Credit:Ryan Pierse - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

"Athletic Club is economically, socially and sportingly capable of keeping footballers of the calibre of those named in its structure, including Nico Williams."

The La Liga outfit are clearly determined to keep their sought-after winger and only a ridiculous fee is likely to tempt them into selling him this summer. Despite that, Transfermarkt only values Williams at $71million (£55million/€65.3million), which is a more than affordable price tag for many clubs.

But after another impressive season, it's easy to see why the Spanish outfit wants to keep him. Williams registered eight goals and 19 assists in 37 appearances in all competitions in 2023-24, including strikes against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to help his side win their first Copa del Rey since 1984.

Since making his Bilbao debut at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, Williams has featured 122 times for the club, providing 20 goals and 26 assists. He's also featured 19 times for Spain, scoring three goals and recording six assists since his first appearance in 2022.