Nico Williams: The Heir to Mo Salah’s Liverpool Throne?
With the long-term future of Mohamed Salah under increased scrutiny since Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, the Reds could turn to Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams as a potential long-term replacement. With the Egyptian King’s current contract set to expire in the summer of 2025, Liverpool’s long-term plan could be forced into action in the near future.
The 21-year-old is the younger brother of Bilbao veteran Inaki Williams, who had always been linked with a move to the Premier League. However, many expect Nico Williams to become one of the standout wingers in Europe due to his incredibly high potential ceiling.
High Premier League Interest
Any potential move for the winger from Liverpool won’t be straight forward though, with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea also heavily interested in the youngster. Williams’ current deal at Bilbao isn’t set to expire until 2027, which could make any potential move for the youngster slightly tricky.
Transfermarkt currently value the winger at approximately £45million, but Bilbao would expectedly demand a steeper fee than that. Chelsea’s willingness to splash obscene amounts of money could put them ahead in the race, but their project stands way behind that of Liverpool and Arsenal’s.
Crunching the Numbers
Despite being just 21-years-old, Williams has already made 109 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, scoring 17 and assisting 17 goals in the process. That averages out at 0.31 direct goal contributions per game- a decent record for such a young player.
The youngster has also already made 11 senior appearances for the Spanish National Team, with two goals in those games.
Williams made a serious breakthrough into Bilbao’s first-team plans in the 2022-23 season, with 11 goal contributions in 36 appearances. This season has proved to be even more efficient, with 10 goal contributions in 20 appearance so far this season.
Offensively, Williams is a real threat with 0.70 goal-creating actions and 4.63 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes. He would also suit Liverpool’s direct and fast-paced attacking rhythm, averaging 5.78 progressive carries and 2.44 carries into the penalty area per 90 minutes.
Fitting Into the Liverpool System
Williams would make quite a natural fit into Liverpool’s system, especially under Jurgen Klopp. With the German’s end-of-season departure on the horizon, it’s yet to be seen who Liverpool’s next coach will be.
But in Liverpool’s current system, Williams would make a perfect rotational option for Mohamed Salah on the right-hand side of the front three. That area of Klopp’s squad has always been lacking, with Harvey Elliott and Ben Doak being the only natural options in that department.
The youngster’s direct style of play and his eye for a goal, makes him a perfect fast-paced forward. Salah’s numbers will always be near impossible, but Williams certainly fits the bill in terms of his style of play.