Aston Villa target Nico Williams expected to sign a new deal with Athletic Club

Aston Villa are reportedly set to miss out on Nico Williams, with the Spanish winger now close to signing a new deal to keep him at Athletic Club.

That’s according to Athletic Club president Jon Uriarte (via Marca), who says the Basque outfit have rejected an offer from Aston Villa for the 20-year-old winger, and he is now expected to sign a new contract at the club.

Uriate said in an interview to Radio Nacional de España: “Nico came at 11 and is very comfortable here. His family is from Athletic to death and his brother is another of the first squad players. We are trying to put in the means so that he can extend his career with us and we think we are going to achieve it.

“The two sides want to understand each other and I think we will succeed.”

Aston Villa have been raiding Spanish football the past year or so, and the talent hunt has escalated since Unai Emery became manager of the Midlands outfit. Diego Carlos was first brought from Sevilla last summer, then Alex Moreno in January. Just this week, former Sevilla transfer supremo Monchi was confirmed as Villa’s President of football operations.

But Villa are not done yet. The Villains have apparently agreed on a deal with Villarreal to sign Pau Torres, with the Spain defender expected to cost around £35 million in what is considered to be a bargain move.

Another player Emery has really pushed to bring to the club is Atheltic Club’s versatile attacker, Nico Williams, especially after missing out on their number-one target Marco Asensio.

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Williams racked up 32 appearances for the Lehoiak in 2022–23, chipping in with ten goals and assists—impressive numbers from the exciting attacker in a season where he was part of the Spain national team.

With only 12 months remaining on his current contract, Villa were reportedly very keen on pushing the deal through despite his high release clause, set at around £45 million. Initial reports suggested he was tempted by a move to Villa Park, with lucrative wages on offer.

Emery himself is thought to have held discussions with Williams over a phone call, where he tried to convince the winger to join the Birmingham outfit.

Despite the Villa boss’ best efforts, Williams is keen to remain in the Basque Country and has no plans of leaving any time soon, with the Basque club set to tie him down to a new contract.

Williams would have been a fantastic addition for Villa. His pace and directness to take on his man mean he would have provided Emery with a different option than what their current wide players offer.

That being said, Villa have high standards in their recruitment in this transfer window, with the ambitious owners not shying away from throwing out big bucks over a high-profile player to get fans excited.

Villa have also been keeping tabs on Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes, who is also admired by West Ham. It will be interesting to see if the Lions will push ahead with a move for the Englishman after missing out on Williams.

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