Barcelona, in an attempt to reinforce the attack, had set their eyes on Athletic Club’s jewel Nico Williams, whose contract runs out in 2024. However, reports recently had stated that they were set to be rivaled by Real Madrid in pursuit.
Nico has a release clause of €50 million in his current contract, which Real Madrid would have been comfortable triggering even in January, while Barcelona would not be able to sign unless he was available on a free transfer.
Further, news also suggested that Nico currently prefers a move to Real Madrid over Barcelona. The Spaniard does not want to walk out of Athletic Club on a free transfer, which could be one of the reasons for his preference.
Real Madrid not looking to sign Nico
Barcelona are in luck, though, as it has been reported by El Partidazo de COPE that Real Madrid are not actually interested in signing Nico.
This could be down to several reasons.
Firstly, Nico’s best position is off the left wing, where Madrid already have the services of Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo. Further, they are also looking to sign Kylian Mbappe, who also prefers playing in that role.
Secondly, the wing is not a position Madrid are too concerned about right now. Their priority is to sign a centre-forward and bolster the defence, especially at left-back, where they have set a keen eye on Alphonso Davies.
Nico happy about Barcelona, Real Madrid interest
With all the news surrounding his future, and the swarm of top clubs interested in signing him in the summer and before, Nico has publicly commented that he is happy with the rumours.
“The fact that big teams like Barça, Madrid, or clubs in England are keeping an eye on me means that I am doing my job well.”
“I’m clear about the decision I want to make, but in the end, it’s something that my representatives, who have been with me since I was 11 years old, are in charge of,” Nico added.
His agent, Felix Tainta, meanwhile, has confirmed that Athletic club are yet to offer him a definitive extension offer, saying, “There is no definitive offer from the club or the player, it would be the other way around, which is not the case either, it is the player who has to decide his future.”
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo