Premier League • England

Arteta in dreamland as Arsenal prepare to trigger €50m release clause to transform forward line

Mikel Arteta and Nico Williams

Arsenal are being tipped to sign a highly-rated winger

Arsenal are willing to meet the €50m release clause that would allow them to sign Nico Williams from Athletic Club, but they must do so before a rival suitor, a report has revealed – and it would cause an existing star to change position.

Williams now has three full seasons as a first-team regular under his belt for Athletic. While his older brother Inaki Williams has been a one-club man, the 21-year-old seems more likely to move away from Bilbao as he plots the next step of his career.

A report from Football Transfers has now sensationally claimed that Arsenal are ‘prepared’ to pay the €50m (£42.6m) release clause in Nico Williams’ contract.

However, they will have to act quickly, because reports have also indicated that Paris Saint-Germain have the same intention.

Furthermore, TEAMtalk can also confirm he is on Chelsea’s shortlist of winger targets, which also includes Crystal Palace star Michael Olise.

It is not yet clear which club Williams would prefer to join, but Arsenal seem to be planning for a future in which he features in their squad.

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Arsenal plan position change to fit Williams in

According to Football Transfers, Mikel Arteta has begun thinking of using Gabriel Martinelli as a rotation option on the right wing, which would allow Williams to be Arsenal’s first-choice left-winger.

Most of Williams’ 36 appearances this season – from which he has made 17 assists and scored seven goals – have been as a left-winger, where Martinelli usually plays for Arsenal.

On the right-hand side, Arteta’s main option is Bukayo Saka, but there have been fears about overusing him for a long time. Starting to mix up who plays on the right – aided by extra competition on the left – could ease any concerns.

That said, Arsenal do already have Leandro Trossard among their ranks to play on the left wing. Therefore, they will have to think carefully about their squad balance.

That’s not to mention one of their biggest priorities for the summer being the identification of a reliable centre-forward to spearhead their attack – which is perhaps even more important than adding to their wings where they could improve numerically, but are reasonably well stocked in comparison.

Fellow suitors PSG and Chelsea both also have lots of attackers in their current squads, but are always on alert for players who can improve them. Williams has big potential and ambitious clubs won’t want to miss out on him.

His contract in Bilbao is due to last until 2027, but that will be irrelevant if someone he wants to join activates his release clause.

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