Nico Williams transfer latest as potential stumbling block emerges for Liverpool 'target'

VELTINS-ARENA, GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - 2024/06/20: Nico Williams of Spain gestures during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage football match between Spain and Italy. Spain won 1-0 over Italy.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Liverpool is never in short supply of transfer rumors. As soon as David Ornstein revealed in The Athletic that the Reds are in the market for a certain position, speculation naturally rose accordingly.

"From what I hear a wide forward is among the areas Liverpool are exploring heading into the summer window," he said, while also highlighting the potential of West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus.

He was linked with the Reds during his time with Ajax, but the strongest rumor at the moment concerns Athletic Club’s Nico Williams, most recently seen destroying Italy at Euro 2024. In one financial sense he seems very attainable for the Reds, in another he looks very far away.

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The most frustrating aspect of the reporting on transfers is that the focus is entirely on the fee itself rather than the cost of the whole package, including wages. For instance, Manchester City paid Borussia Dortmund $64.8m (£51.2m/€60.6m) for Erling Haaland, undoubtedly a low amount for a forward of his goal scoring pedigree.

However, per FBRef, the Norwegian is paid $477k (£375k/€444k) a week and agreed a five-year deal. This means the cost to City for a half-decade of Haaland is actually $188.2m (£148.7m/€175.9m).

Much was made at the time of Liverpool spending a fee of up to $107m (£85m/€98m) including potential add-ons for Darwin Núñez, far more than the publicized cost of Haaland. But with his wages for a six-year deal, the total cost is around $162.8m (£128.7m/€152.2m).

This sort of discrepancy will have an impact on a potential deal for Williams, as highlighted by journalist Ben Jacobs. He suggests that Williams is seen as good value by his suitors - Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea are all cited - with a release clause of around $56.9m (£45m/€53.2m), although the total cost of the deal - taking into account his wages - poses a problem.

The 21-year-old is under contract for another three seasons and, per FBRef, is already earning $215k (£169k/€200k) a week. Even if he didn’t expect an increase, which he likely would when signing with a Champions League regular, that would put him fourth in the reported salary standings at Anfield, behind only Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

A five-year deal for Williams on his current salary would therefore cost a grand total of $112.5m (£88.9m/€105.2m). His release clause looks attainable but Liverpool would need to double it, more or less, to get his total cost. That could prove too much for FSG's liking. says: Would Williams be willing to accept a lower wage initially to prove himself at a bigger club? It feels very unlikely and that's no slight on him. Footballers need to make as much as they can while the going is good because an injury can end their career in an instant. Richard Hughes will need to find a few more pennies down the back of the sofa to complete this deal.