Huge Arsenal transfer blow could pave way for shock Gunners swap deal as Barca ‘agree’ Williams terms

Joe Williams
Nico Williams has been linked with Arsenal
Nico Williams has been linked with Arsenal.

Nico Williams has reached an agreement in principle with Barcelona in a huge transfer blow to Arsenal and Liverpool, according to reports.

The Gunners are looking to sign a new winger in the summer transfer market to help provide alternative options for Mikel Arteta during matches next season.

Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Wolves’ Pedro Neto are among the wingers who have been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer.

However, it has been reported that Arsenal are prepared to do a deal for Williams this summer amid interest from Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona.

Caught Offside have claimed that Williams is a priority target for Arsenal but that Barcelona are the main club who could ruin their pursuit of the Athletic Bilbao winger.

‘Both teams will apparently meet with the player’s agents soon, and whilst the winger doesn’t appear to have made any decision about his future yet, it’s obvious to anyone watching the Euros just what a connection he has with Lamine Yamal, Barcelona’s brilliant 16-year-old, who has been playing on the opposite wing for La Roja. To enjoy playing with Yamal for club and country would be an obvious pull for Williams.

‘Moreover, CaughtOffside sources have been told that the Catalan giants are planning to sell Ansu Fati and Raphinha this summer in order to be able to afford to keep Williams in La Liga.

‘New Barcelona coach, Hansi Flick, has also been keeping a close eye on Nico Williams’ performances over the past few weeks, and is understood to have approved the transfer. All that would appear to remain from a Barca point of view is to get discussions rolling and have the player commit to them rather than Arsenal.’

But now reports in Spain have claimed that Barcelona and Williams have ‘reached an agreement in principle’ over a summer transfer with the Catalan giants on the ‘verge of closing the first big signing of this summer’.

Barcelona are ‘now close to finalising the signing’ of the Spain international and could be ‘finalised shortly after the final’ of Euro 2024.

Williams has a €60m release clause in his contract but Barcelona are yet to agree a fee with Athletic Bilbao as the Catalans face financial problems.

And the Williams deal could eventually work in Arsenal’s favour with Barcelona prepared to sell Gunners target Raphinha in order to get a deal for the Spain winger sealed.

A recent report indicated that Arsenal are willing to pay €30m plus Eddie Nketiah to bring former Leeds United winger Raphinha back to the Premier League this summer.

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Arsenal could have more chance of landing another Barcelona target too with transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirming the Gunners’ interest in Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: ‘The Spain midfielder is on the list at Barcelona for sure, appreciated by the board; Arsenal have also been tracking him as he’s considered a good market opportunity with one year left on his contract, while Mikel Arteta also follows Real Sociedad regularly. Let’s see what happens, it’s still early for this one with all options open.’