Late Southampton twist could see big Neco Williams bid seal Liverpool deal and shock Nottingham Forest

Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk, Neco Williams and Trent Alexander-Arnold

Southampton are reportedly preparing to blow Nottingham Forest out of the water with their own bid for Liverpool right-back Neco Williams.

The Wales full-back is in demand this summer following a successful loan spell at Fulham last season. What’s more, he has been front and centre of his country’s journey to the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Liverpool, who have signed Calvin Ramsay as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s new understudy this summer, will therefore not stand in Williams’ way.

A number of Premier League teams have come forward to snap Williams up. Brentford and Crystal Palace were among the early frontrunners.

More recent reports have suggested that Nottingham Forest feel ‘confident’ of meeting Liverpool’s £15million price tag.

According to an update from Football Insider, it is now Southampton who think they are in pole position to sign Williams.

The south coast club are preparing a bid worth a total of £20million. The report claims that, with add-ons, that is Liverpool’s true asking price.

In any case, it is more than what Forest have supposedly proposed to pay.

Steve Cooper’s side have agreed personal terms with Williams – something Southampton have so far not done. However, the Saints can get ahead of Forest in Liverpool’s eyes by sealing the terms of the transfer itself.

Forest deterred by Reds valuation

Indeed, Football Insider claims that Forest have concerns over Williams’ price tag. Liverpool rejected their first bid, worth around £12million.

Liverpool allegedly raised their valuation of Williams after seeing the number of Premier League clubs interested in him. Forest could subsequently begin to look elsewhere.

Forest have already signed a new right-back this summer in Giulian Biancone. But such was the impact of Middlesbrough loanee Djed Spence – who is close to joining Tottenham permanently – last season, Cooper wants to make sure he is adequately covered in that area.

Southampton may have Neco Williams transfer edge

Neco Williams, Wales v Belgium June 2022

Southampton may have the edge in the race for Williams, though, given their recent transfer relations.

Liverpool have signed Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Adam Lallana – amongst others – from the Saints in recent years.

Meanwhile, Southampton snapped up Danny Ings from the Reds on a loan-to-buy deal in 2018.

The two clubs consequently have recent ties in the transfer market, which may make negotiations for Williams smoother. Liverpool may well be more receptive to interest from the Saints.

Liverpool and Forest, meanwhile, used to be great English rivals but have lost touch until recently.

The two clubs contested an FA Cup quarter-final clash last season but are preparing for their first Premier League meeting since 1999.