Who is Nico Williams? Bilbao's Rising Star wanted by Tottenham and Liverpool


Athletic Club de Bilbao is renowned for its ability to develop homegrown talent.  


Nico Williams emerged as part of the new crop of talents coming through Los Leones and has since become an integral part of Ernesto Valverde’s squad 


Williams has registered more assists per 90 than any U21 winger in Europe's top five leagues this season, and his outstanding performances have propelled his club to the verge of Champions League qualification.  


The Spanish international was also decisive in key moments this season. His three goals and five assists in the Copa del Rey helped dismantle Barcelona and Atletico Madrid en route to their first major trophy in 40 years. 


It is evident that Williams will need to move on to fulfil his enormous potential. Interest in him during the upcoming summer transfer window is expected to be greater than ever before, with clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham showing keen interest in acquiring the Pamplona-born talent. 


Nico Williams Transfer Value - how much is he worth? 


According to FootballTransfer's Player Valuation Model, Williams currently has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €29m. His value has been on a continuous upwards trajectory since he established himself as a first team starter in the 2022/2023 season. 


Who is Nico Williams? Bilbao's Rising Star wanted by Tottenham and Liverpool


Basque players are notoriously difficult to get out of their hometown clubs. Williams is no different and recently signed a contract extension until 2027, despite offers from the Premier League. 


The Spaniard has a reported €50m release clause, which is in line with the valuation for wingers at the top end of the market. Manchester City parted with €60m to sign Jeremy Doku last summer, so it's likely that a similar sum will be needed to pluck him out of Basque country. 


The stats - Why Nico Williams is destined for the big stage? 


Williams can play on either wing, and is comfortable staying high and wide but also drifting inside to operate in the half spaces. His comfort receiving to feet and running in behind makes him a versatile attacking threat. 


You want to see a young talent show progression over the years, and the 21-year-old is a classic case of someone who is putting in the work every week and has managed to take big strides in almost every metric compared to his breakout 2021/22 campaign. 


Williams’ has always been an exceptional dribbler, but he is now putting up numbers that match the best players in his position.  


His 3.3 successful take-ons per 90 are the highest in the league, level with Vinicius Junior. He is also just behind the Madrid duo of Vinicius and Rodrygo with 2.8 carries into the penalty area per 90. 


The winger’s two footedness and ability to change direction with the ball at speed makes him devastating in one-on-one situations. He is comfortable going both inside and outside of the defender, and seems to find solutions even when he is double marked. 


But to be truly effective as a winger though, it's crucial to have an end product. Williams can get separation from the defender with a split-second burst of pace, making him a real danger from his crosses. 


His 2.1 key passes per 90 show that it’s not just with his crossing that can be a threat. He can drift into the tight central areas and has the vision to set up teammates with a quality of passing that is more in line with some of the best creative midfielders out there. 


To top it all off Williams can also create chances for himself, and he ranks first in La Liga for goal creating action with 1.06 per 90. 


While some star wingers tend to be lazy defensively, Williams’ natural fitness and energy also sees him press from the front and align with what many top coaches want to see from their attackers. 


The likes of Mohamed Salah, Vinicius and Bukayo Saka have set the standard for the modern day winger. Williams has all the elements to join them as a true master of the position.


This article was provided by FootballTransfers

Who is Nico Williams? Bilbao's Rising Star wanted by Tottenham and Liverpool