Real Madrid move ahead of Barcelona in the race for Athletic Club and Spain star Nico Williams

Athletic Club and Spain star Nico Williams looks as if he is edging closer to the exit door in the Basque Country, with some of the largest heavyweights in England and Spain interested in booking his transport.

Williams, 21, is one of the most exciting talents in Europe, and with his contract expiring in 2024, it is no surprise that a number of big clubs are keeping a close eye on the situation. Athletic Club are keen to renew his contract, but Diario AS say that Williams has made his mind up on a departure.

On Tuesday his agent Felix Tainta warned Los Leones ‘not to forget’ about them, and signalled that the player would decide his future, while Williams himself was coy, saying that he was clear on his future.

He will not leave without earning some money for Athletic Club. Williams’ intention is to leave next summer, but to renew his contract as long as his release clause does not increase from €50m. This will allow him to leave for an acceptable fee to one of the four Premier League clubs reportedly interested in him, one of which being Aston Villa, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

However with this news, it appears as if the Catalans will have to drop out of the race. Their interest was predicated on Williams signing on a free at the end of his contract, whereas Los Blancos would be willing to pay the €50m release clause next summer. This puts them in a strong position to make a deal.

It’s been said on a number of occasions that few players turn down Real Madrid, and no doubt it would be tricky for Williams to do so. Yet with Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham, and likely another forward arriving next summer in Madrid already, he could be looking at a significantly reduced role at the Santiago Bernabeu, when he will want regular football for his next move.

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