Premier League • England

Liverpool transfer news: Julian Ward mulling giant fee to lure Bilbao winger Nico Williams with fierce rivals also keen

Nico Williams in action during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Athletic Club de Bilbao at the RCDE Stadium

Liverpool are gearing up to pay a huge fee to tempt Athletic Bilbao into the sale of young winger Nico Williams, as per reports in Spain.

The Reds made a fast start to the summer’s transfer window with a deal for teenager Fabio Carvalho quickly confirmed. He was followed by a rapidly-concluded deal for Darwin Nunez; the Uruguayan arriving in a club-record £85m deal. And their spending appeared to be over when a deal for full-back Calvin Ramsay was secured from Aberdeen.

However, the departure of Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi leaves Liverpool light on numbers in attack. And while Mohamed Salah signed a new deal to commit his future to Anfield, a niggling injury to Diogo Jota leaves Jurgen Klopp with a bit of a selection dilemma ahead of their Premier League opener at Fulham.

Furthermore, Roberto Firmino currently only still has a year left on his deal at Anfield.

As such, it’s little surprise to see sporting director Julian Ward casting his net to secure potential reinforcements.

To that end, reports in Spain now claim the Reds are readying a huge £35.7m (€42m) offer to Bilbao for Williams.

The winger – 20 last week – became a mainstay of the Bilbao side last season, appearing in 34 LaLiga games.

And despite registering three goals, he is already being tipped as a future international for Spain.

As such, it’s little surprise to see the player catching the eye of a number of scouts.

Not to be confused with his older brother, Inaki – a player the Reds also tracked for a few seasonsFootball Espana lists Liverpool as one of those sides reportedly keen.

Manchester United also keen on Nico Williams

Coming up through the Bilbao academy, Williams is expected to feature even more prominently under Ernesto Valverde this season.

And that is sure to get the scouts flocking back to San Mamés.

Indeed, as per the report, Liverpool are not the only ones keen on Williams. As such, Manchester United are also reportedly keeping a close eye on the winger’s development.

And the presence of both clubs is only likely to drive up Williams’ price in one direction.

A move by either is probably unlikely this summer, that said. Liverpool look to have spent their summer budget already. And United’s priorities seemingly lie with the capture of a new midfielder instead.

Ward, meanwhile, is also reportedly considering a move for Mario Vuskovic, with the Hamburg talent seen as a possible successor to a Liverpool stalwart.