Chelsea set up £43m deal for Arsenal, Spurs target to replace star who has ‘disappointed’ Pochettino

Will Ford
Premier League-linked winger Nico Williams during a match for Athletic Bilbao.
Nico Williams during a match for Athletic Bilbao.

Chelsea are attempting to set up a deal to bring Atheltic Bilbao star Nico Williams to Stamford Bridge this summer, to replace a winger who has “disappointed” Mauricio Pochettino.

Williams, who helped Athletic end their 40-year trophy doubt as they won the Copa del Rey on Saturday, has a £43m release clause with the Basque club, and has drawn admiring glances from Arsenal and Tottenham through his displays this season. 

Pre-window deal for Williams

The winger, who signed a new deal at San Mames in December, has got six goals and 14 assists in 30 appearances across all competitions this term, putting him in the top ten Under 21 goal contributors across Europe’s top five leagues, and also has two goals in 13 caps for Spain.

Chelsea may struggle to attract a player of such repute given they will be without Champions League football once again in the 2024-25 campaign, particularly given interest from elsewhere.

But Football Insider claim the Blues are looking to ‘steal a march on their rivals’ and are ‘trying to set up a deal for the 21-year-old pre-window as they eye attacking reinforcements this summer’.

Chelsea already have Mykhaylo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling operating on the wings, but Williams could be a direct replacement for Sterling, who has endured a difficult period at Stamford Bridge.

READ MORE: Raheem Sterling plummets in ranking of Chelsea signings under Todd Boehly

‘Disappointed’ in Sterling

The England international was booed by the home fans in the FA Cup victory over Leicester after he blazed a free-kick high and wide of the target having already missed a penalty.

Sterling’s managed 17 goals and 12 assists in 76 appearances since his £47m move from Manchester City in the summer of 2022, but is now deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

It’s claimed ‘a well-placed source told Football Insider that both Pochettino and Chelsea recruitment staff have been left “disappointed” with the England international’s performances’.

The 29-year-old has started just one of the last five Premier League games and was an unused substitute for the 2-2 away draw at Sheffield United on Sunday.

READ MORE: Premier League winners and losers: Arsenal, Luton and Grealish brilliant; Chelsea, Liverpool and Emery poor