Why Arsenal are unlikely to sign Nico Williams this summer

  • Arsenal have a long-standing interest in Spanish winger Nico Williams
  • Athletic Club star has a release clause in his contract
  • Williams also reportedly demanding a hefty salary
Nico Williams is lighting up Euro 2024 with Spain
Nico Williams is lighting up Euro 2024 with Spain / Mateusz Slodkowski/GettyImages

Arsenal have a long-standing interest in Athletic Club winger Nico Williams, but the finances involved with any potential deal render a pursuit unlikely this summer.

The Gunners have so far endured a quiet transfer window, with the presence of two major tournaments perhaps hindering the club's ability to do business.

Arsenal has targeted a move for RB Leipzig's Benjamin Sesko before the start of Euro 2024, but the Slovenian striker opted to extend his contract in Saxony. Thus, there's been little movement on the striker front, and recent reports suggest a move for a midfielder will now be prioritised.

The club aren't going to leave their forward line untouched, however, and we know Arsenal are long-term admirers of wingers Pedro Neto and Athletic Club's Williams. A move for the latter will be tough to pull off this summer, though.

Finances involved with Nico Williams deal means Arsenal pursuit unlikely

Nico Williams
Williams reportedly has hefty wage demands / Edith Geuppert - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Williams lit up the Euros with a fine performance against Italy on Matchday 2 of the group stages, and transfer talk was rife in the aftermath. The electric winger has caught the eye of several clubs, with Barcelona, Chelsea, and Tottenham boasting an interest alongside Arsenal.

Chelsea have already distanced themselves from signing Williams this summer, though, and Arsenal may be next.

Charles Watts (via Football365) notes that Williams' release clause, believed to be €58m, will have to be paid in full right away. Any buyer for Williams, if they trigger the clause, will not be able to spread costs over multiple years which will be problematic for Arsenal.

There are also concerns over the 21-year-old's wage demands. Athletic Club may not be prolific in the transfer market, but they're happy to pay their stars big sums to keep them on the books. Williams' salary in the Basque region is believed to be close to £170,000-a-week, and Arsenal, according to reports, would have to pay the young winger in excees of £200,000-a-week to bring him to the Emirates.

The Gunners have worked hard to maintain a fair and sensible wage structure following the exits of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. On that salary, Williams would be the club's fifth highest-paid player. That just doesn't seem feasible.

Thus, there have been links to alternatives. PSV's Johan Bakayoko would be an excellent option as a Bukayo Saka understudy.