Barcelona rush to sign Man Utd, Liverpool target in statement deal that’ll leave Ten Hag, Klopp frustrated

Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino and Ansu Fati of Spain

Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino and Ansu Fati in Spain training

Barcelona have reportedly initiated contact with the agent of Spain star Nico Williams, as they try to sign the Athletic Club man before Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool.

Williams is a 21-year-old attacker who mainly operates on the right wing but can also play on the left if needed. A product of the Athletic academy system, he made his senior debut for the club in April 2021. So far in his career he has made 89 appearances for the La Liga outfit and has notched 12 goals and 11 assists in that time.

Williams is emerging into a great performer in the Spanish top flight. He possesses deadly speed and excels at beating players in one-v-one situations before either crossing the ball for a team-mate or getting a shot away. Williams’ top displays have seen him force his way into the Spain national team, for whom he has won 10 caps at the time of writing.

The wide man’s contract with Athletic expires in June 2024 and the two parties are engaged in talks over fresh terms. However, that may simply be a case of Athletic protecting their asset before selling him on for a huge profit in 2024.

On Monday, it emerged that Liverpool have decided on Williams as a top target to replace Mo Salah, should he join Al Ittihad next year.

However, the Reds will face competition for a deal from English rivals Man Utd and Aston Villa. Man Utd have earmarked Williams as a potential winger solution amid problems surrounding Jadon Sancho and Antony, while Unai Emery is a huge fan of the youngster.

READ MORE: Man Utd make third keeper signing and immediately add released EFL prospect to Prem squad list

Spanish newspaper Sport have now provided their information on Williams, and it no longer looks like the player is guaranteed to move to England.

That is because Barca have taken significant steps to try and land him first. The report explains how new Barca sporting director Deco has contacted Williams’ agent, Felix Tainta, to let him know that his client is high up on Xavi’s wish list for next summer.

Nico Williams an ‘ideal’ Barcelona signing

Williams is described as the ‘ideal profile’ to fit into Xavi’s team. He could play on the right of a front three and form a devastating attacking partnership with Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. Xavi also has Ferran Torres, Gavi and teenager Lamine Yamal at his disposal in forward areas, while Joao Felix is currently on loan at the Blaugrana from Atletico Madrid.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be frustrated if Williams ends up joining Barca over their respective clubs. Both managers have included him in their plans for the future and will therefore be urging their owners to submit offers to Athletic to try and ruin Barca’s swoop.

Meanwhile, Man Utd defender Harry Maguire has provided his own account of why an exit from the club failed to materialise in the summer.