Barcelona ‘strongly mentioning’ Arsenal-linked star with ‘seduced’ Arteta target Flick ‘priority’

Jason Soutar
Nico Williams with the Barcelona and Arsenal badges
Barcelona and Arsenal are both in the race to sign Nico Williams

According to reports, Barcelona are very keen on signing Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams, who has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal.

Williams has been lighting up Euro 2024 after a superb 2023/24 campaign for the Basque club.

He has shone on the left wing for Spain, who have comfortably been the most impressive team at the European Championship.

Germany have also impressed but La Roja…wow. They look bloody brilliant.

Williams has formed a lovely partnership with fellow forwards Alvaro Morata and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, who he could link up with at club level.

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Barcelona are very keen on signing the 21-year-old but know he is too expensive. To be fair, pretty much everyone not available on a free transfer is too expensive for Barcelona.

Ben Jacobs revealed in his CaughtOffside column last week that Williams is ‘very open’ to joining the La Liga giants, who ‘appreciate the player but not the price’.

Williams’ wage demands are believed to be in the region of £200,000 a week, with taxes and bonuses putting off suitors.

In the same story as linked above, Arsenal expert Charles Watts emphasised that the Gunners may be ‘stupid’ to smash their wage structure to bring in the Spanish winger.

He said: ‘Williams is a talent, but he is still young and relatively inexperienced. For Arsenal to immediately make him one of the highest earners would be a risk, because it could unsettle the squad a bit, especially if he were to come in and suddenly be earning more than some of the experienced players who have been at the club for a while. So all that sort of thing has to be taken into account when it comes to potential deals.’

Barcelona eye two Arsenal transfer targets

In another blow to the Gunners, it has been reported by The Athletic that Barcelona ‘seems to be most interested in a left-winger and have their eye on several players that interest them, such as Nico Williams’.

The Bilbao sensation is being ‘strongly mentioned’ in Catalonia after every Spain game this summer, with his ‘good understanding with Yamal’ tickling their fancy.

It is noted that ‘a deal seems unlikely to happen given his €60million release clause’. Good news for Arsenal, then.

Another Gunners target, Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino, is believed to be a Barcelona transfer goal as new manager Hansi Flick makes the signing of a defensive midfielder a ‘priority’.

Reports from Spain state that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has ‘seduced’ Merino over the phone with the Sociedad playmaker hoping to move to the Emirates this summer.

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