Nico Williams Arsenal transfer stance, Mikel Arteta hope, new comments and Chelsea plan

Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams
-Credit: (Image: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Euro 2024 is into its final week and with the conclusion will come the heightened attention of one of its stars. Step forward, 21-year-old Nico Williams.

Despite coming off the back of his best La Liga season to date, Williams was not immediately a player to watch for many heading into the tournament, but his electric displays have more than changed that. With a goal and an assist heading into the semi-finals, and countless bursts past a hapless opposition full-back, Williams has been one of the best individuals in Germany.

It is no surprise that he is also attracting outside attention. He has long been on the radar of top clubs across Europe with interest going back to his teenage years. He only signed a new contract boyhood club Athletic Bilbao in December though, and with Basque transfer demands, his wages are already sky high.

It has created a world whereby the £49million release clause in his new deal is not extortionate, but breaking payment structures is on the cards in order to fund the whippersnapper. Given his five goals and 14 assists last term, plus impressive durability across the past three senior seasons, there is a suggestion that he may well be worth it.

Arsenal, who are in the mix alongside Chelsea and Barcelona to sign Williams, know just how hard it will be to get him. They are already looking at new strikers and midfielders this window, and are expected to welcome offers themselves for attacking options Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, and Reiss Nelson.

On Williams though, here, has the latest on the player and his future.

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Barcelona priority

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Williams will reportedly wait for Barcelona to prepare an offer as he prefers to stay in Spain this summer. He is said to be aware that it will take the Catalan side time to get a financially viable package ready, and he is willing to give them time.

However, he does not want to have a deal drag on in the coming months and is not keen for a move to be completed in the final week of the window. This could, in turn, give Arsenal a chance to swoop in and make him think about an alternative destination.

Furthermore, despite monetary issues for the past two summer windows, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has made his club's stance perfectly clear in regards to a move. "Obviously I like him a lot,” he told Catalunya Radio. "But here we have to let those who have the responsibility work, and [sporting director] Deco is working to make the signings that have been discussed with [manager, Hansi] Flick and I hope to have good news.

"Today, yes [Barcelona can afford Williams]. It is the result of the work that has been done these years to get to this point, we could face a signing of this level."

Arteta preference

Although Arsenal have plenty of attacking options, including Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Gabriel Jesus all capable of playing on the wing, Mikel Arteta would be behind a move for Williams. It is reported that Williams is the manager's preference when it comes to forwards.

Arsenal are also looking to sign a striker this summer, and have looked at new midfielders too. The Gunners could yet add another player to their frontline though, and Williams is seen as an ideal option.

Like Williams, Arteta is from the Basque region and it is said that contact will soon be made to discuss a possible deal. Arteta could also play a big role in pushing for Williams and speaking to him directly.

Chelsea interest

Chelsea are still interested in bringing Williams to Stamford Bridge. The Blues have also had the player on their radar for some time, understands, with him being explored last summer as well.

He is described by The Athletic as being their 'highest-profile option' to upgrade the left wing. There have been suggestions that due to the cost, a deal is not likely.

Fabrizio Romano has said that Chelsea will not be in the race unless his wage demands drop.