La Liga star flattered by £42.7m Liverpool links, confirms future decision

Iñaki Williams is “flattered” by stories linking the likes of Liverpool, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund with his services, but insists he wants to stay at Athletic Bilbao for the foreseeable future.

The 22-year-old forward is considered as the next star from a prolific academy that has previously produced the likes of Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente and Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez.

The Spain U21 international has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of those players and make the move to one of European football’s leading lights.

Liverpool have been constantly linked with his services since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival to Anfield. The German boss is said to be a big fan of the pacy Spaniard’s versatility across both the striker role and the right wing.

Athletic tried to ward off suitors in January 2016 by handing him a long-term deal until 2021, raising his release clause to €50m (£42.7m, $52.9m) from the original €20m.

Reports refused to go away, however, with The Mirror claiming Klopp has identified the Spaniard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the two top candidates to replace the Daniel Sturridge ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Reds expected to part ways with the England international.

Dortmund are also said to be monitoring Williams’ situation, while AS later reported Juventus had joined the race and would be willing to meet his €50m release clause.

Last month the reports reiterated that the Athletic forward is top of Klopp’s shopping list, with the Liverpool boss expected to have at least £150m to bolster his squad for the 2017-18 season.

But Williams has told his suitors to forget about him and backed up Athletic’s claims of being a big team during a press conference on Monday (10 April).

Questioned about reports linking him with Liverpool, Juventus and Dortmund, the Spaniard said: “I am calm, I feel very, very calm because I am very comfortable here. I have no intentions of anything. It is flattering that big teams are interested in me but I’m already at the biggest team and I want to continue my career here, hopefully for many years”

“I am calm. My agent deals with this things but I have always said that I am very comfortable here and that I am where I want to be. I am proud to come here every morning and be with my teammates and the coaching staff. I do not plan to make any changes and I do not worry about all these [reports] coming out.”