Iñaki Williams has made it clear that he wants to continue at Athletic Club Bilbao for the long-term despite recent comments made by the Spaniard indicating the opposite. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund have both been linked with his services in recent months but the 22-year-old has now claimed his first choice will always be to stay at the Basque side.
Last year Williams put pen to paper on a new deal at Athletic Club side until 2021, raising his release clause to €50m (£42.3m, $52.9m) from his original €20m.
The forward had been linked with Liverpool before the renewal and speculations had recently resurfaced amid suggestions Jurgen Klopp will part company with Daniel Sturridge at the end of the season.
The Mirror reported last month that the German boss had earmarked the Spaniard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the two top candidates to replace the England international.
Marca later added Dortmund was also willing to pay Williams’ €50m release clause to replace Aubameyang, as the Gabon striker is also expected to make a move somewhere else at the end of the season.
Williams appeared to give Liverpool fans some hope earlier this month when suggesting he wanted to continue at Athletic, but would speak with club president if an interesting offer arrived this summer.
Asked by Sportium about the interest from Liverpool, Dortmund and Juventus, the Spanish under 21 international said: “A lot of news about that coming but I’m calm. If they are looking at me it’s because I’m doing things right. I am privileged. If one day I have to leave I will be very honest with Athletic. They have given me everything. I do not want to make a change. Staying at Athletic is my first choice right now.
“If there are offers, I will be honest with Athletic. It is my home. I have a contract with them. The first thing I would do is talk to the president. He has been very good to me. I’m where I want to be. I like the club, the teammates, the city… I am happy in Bilbao. Same as my family. I feel very recognised by the club and I also value that very much.”
— MARCA (@marca) February 23, 2017
Williams in is latest utterance has since issued his strongest confirmation to date about his commitment to Athletic Bilbao.
“People might have taken my words out of context. I have always said, and I maintain, that I am where I want to be and that I am very happy in Bilbao,” Williams told Marca. “I do not want a change of pace, my family is very comfortable here, my teammates are happy with me and I am very happy to be with them. My first choice will always be Athletic,
“I am where I want to be and also very happy. Having a contract (until 2021) gives stability but I am not satisfied with what I have achieved. I always aspire to have more. I want more renewals (with Athletic) to come in the future.”