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Barcelona 'will not trigger release clause in new Nico Williams contract'

Barcelona 'will not trigger release clause in new Nico Williams contract'
© Reuters
Barcelona reportedly decide against triggering the new €50m (£42.9m) release clause in the contract of Athletic Bilbao attacker Nico Williams.

Barcelona have reportedly decided against triggering the new release clause in the contract of Athletic Bilbao attacker Nico Williams.

Following months of transfer rumours and speculation over his Athletic future, the Spain international signed a new deal with the club until 2027 on Friday.

Williams was linked with the likes of Barcelona, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City before putting pen to paper on his renewal, but the door is not fully closed for the attacker.

With all new contracts in La Liga requiring a release clause, Athletic have set Williams's option at €50m (£42.9m), which would prove affordable for many of his admirers.

However, Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona have no intention of activating the attacker's new release clause, and their volatile financial situation is partially to blame.

FC Barcelona's Joao Cancelo scores their first goal on November 28, 2023© Reuters

The report states that Williams possesses a strong relationship with several members of Xavi's squad, but the La Liga champions simply cannot afford to bring him to the club at this moment in time.

La Blaugrana have already sealed a deal for one new striker in the summer of 2024, as 18-year-old Atletico Paranaense starlet Vitor Roque will join the club in a €40m (£34.3m) transaction.

Barcelona also poached Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid over the summer, and the Portugal international has made no secret of his desire to make his stay in Catalonia permanent.

Joan Laporta has also talked up the possibility of keeping the former Benfica starlet once the campaign comes to a close, and the report adds that a permanent deal is in the works.

However, spaces could still free up in the Barcelona attack in the next couple of years, as it remains to be seen if Ansu Fati will continue at the club following his loan spell with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Barcelona's Joao Felix celebrates scoring their second goal on November 28, 2023© Reuters

Raphinha's future has also been called into question in recent months amid suggestions that Tottenham Hotspur are planning to reignite their interest in the Brazilian, whom they tried and failed to capture in 2022.

Meanwhile, star striker Robert Lewandowski remains under contract until the summer of 2026 with the option of a further year, but the Pole could also make his exit earlier than anticipated in a specific set of circumstances.

A separate report has claimed that Lewandowski's deal could be terminated in 2025 should he fail to play at least 45 minutes in 55% of Barcelona's games next season, which would free up a spot for Williams to join.

Barcelona occupy fourth place in the La Liga table, level on points with third-placed Atletico Madrid, whom they welcome to Estadi Olimpic Lluís Companys for Sunday's blockbuster clash.

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1Real Madrid25195153163762
4Atletico MadridAtletico25163650262451
5Athletic Bilbao25147445232249
6Real Sociedad251010534231140
7Real BetisBetis2591242825339
9Las PalmasLas Palmas25105102525035
14Rayo Vallecano25510102233-1125
17Celta Vigo2548132737-1020

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