Arsenal scouts have been making regular checks on Athletic winger Nico Williams as they look to provide a quality back-up option to Bukayo Saka next term.
The Gunners currently have Gabriel Martinelli and Saka as their preferred wingers. Martinelli has had good competition with the arrival of Leandro Trossard last winter.
It has not been the case on the right flank. Saka has been the mainstay and quite often, he has played through 90 minutes with no solid competition behind him.
Reiss Nelson has come off the bench to replace Saka on occasions, but he has lacked the ability to make regular goal contributions unlike Trossard from the left wing.
According to Mirror‘s John Cross, the Gunners’ scouting team are making regular checks on Williams, but they are not alone with Real Madrid, Liverpool and Aston Villa also keeping tabs.
Williams recently signed a new three-year deal at Athletic. The La Liga outfit will only consider a premium fee. It is claimed that the winger remains loyal and won’t force an exit.
Aside from the Spaniard, the Gunners are also long-term admirers of Wolverhampton Wanderers star Pedro Neto despite his concerning injury record over recent years.
The hierarchy are likewise interested in Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi and Brentford’s Ivan Toney. It could be a busy summer transfer window for the London giants.
Williams would be a quality acquisition for Arsenal
The 21-year-old has played from the left wing for Athletic this term. He has been in impressive form with five goals and 10 assists from 24 appearances for his club.
However, he is more than capable of operating from the right flank. The Spaniard made 13 goal contributions from 26 outings from the role last season.
His ability to play on either wing should increase his chances of regular playing time at Arsenal.
Williams would be a quality acquisition for Arsenal. He has a passing accuracy of almost 80 per cent in La Liga this season. He has averaged 2.8 take-ons per appearance.
The youngster has also won 5.5 duels, 1.2 tackles and has made 4.6 recoveries per outing. Hence, he works hard for the team, both offensively and defensively.
It is left to be seen whether Arsenal can prise him away. His release clause stands at €50 million and Athletic are unlikely to accept anything less for his services.
The other stumbling block could be the player’s and club’s desire. Williams looks unlikely to contemplate an exit unless Athletic give him the green light to leave.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com & Sofascore.com