Villa could face stiff competition for reported £45m target in summer

Aston Villa could reportedly face competition from Liverpool if we opt to revisit our touted interest in Athletic Bilbao youngster Nico Williams in the summer.

As per the Daily Mail, Villa were prepared to spend £45m to activate the 20-year-old’s release clause last month, but despite a significant contract offer also being reported, Williams opted to stay with the La Liga side.

READ MORE: Exit touted amid talk of interest in Villa ace

Having contributed six goals and six assists in 25 appearances so far this season as well as earning seven caps for Spain at senior level already, it’s widely expected that Williams is set for a bright future for both club and country.

Unai Emery was keen to add a winger to our squad last month, and although Bertrand Traore has now emerged as a short-term solution having being recalled from his loan spell, it remains to be seen if that is an area that the Villa boss is still keen to address in the summer.

Should Williams still be his preferred target, AS have reported that it’s not only Villa who are potentially monitoring the talented youngster, but Liverpool are also specifically mentioned when discussing clubs who tested the water for the winger in the January transfer window.

They reiterate that there is a €50m release clause in his contract, while also noting how his current deal expires in 2024, which will no doubt raise question marks over his long-term future as he edges closer to having only 12 months remaining.

Emery has spoken on several occasions about how he only wants to sign players who significantly improve his squad. Perhaps with a deal not possible for Williams in January due to his desire to stay at Athletic, he was potentially the main target last month and after that failed to materialise, Emery was happy to wait until the summer.

Time will tell if we have better luck at the end of the season, but it seems as though we’ll have to be careful not to miss out on Williams – should he be a genuine priority for Villa – with Liverpool seemingly involved too as they look to bolster their own attacking options.

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