Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Laporta: Barça can afford Nico Williams deal

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed the club have the money to sign Spain and Athletic Club winger Nico Williams, who has been one of the revelations of Euro 2024 in Germany this summer.

Williams, 21, signed a new deal with Athletic at the end of last year but his contract includes a release clause worth around €58 million ($63m).

Barça are in excess of their annual LaLiga spending limit and are unable to register new signings, but Laporta is confident they will fix their finances soon and be able to afford players like Williams.

“Economically speaking, we could commit to the signing of Nico Williams,” Laporta told Catalunya Radio on Monday.

“Nico’s a player I like — I like him a lot. We are working with [new coach Hansi] Flick on possible signings. Now we have to leave [sporting director] Deco to close the operations we are working on.

“Shortly we will be able to announce some good news with regard to the financial [issues] and we will be back within LaLiga’s Fair Play limits. And that will allow further good news in terms of [signings].”

Williams is among the targets to strengthen the attack. His reputation has received a huge boost at the Euros this summer, where he has been one of the stars of Spain’s run to the semifinal.

He set up the winning goal against Italy, when he was named MVP, and scored and assisted in the 4-1 round-of-16 win over Georgia last week.

While in Germany, Williams and Barça duo Lamine Yamal and Pedri have regularly been asked about the possibility of them playing together at the Catalan club next season.

Both Yamal, who has struck up a close relationship with Williams while playing for Spain, and Pedri have both expressed a desire to see him make the switch to Barça.

Williams, though, has refrained from looking beyond the Euros, saying his only focus is on helping Spain win a fourth European Championship trophy this month.

The Athletic forward, whose brother, Iñaki Williams, is a club teammate, will next be in action for Spain on Tuesday when they play France in the semifinal in Munich.

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