Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams: 'I Had Contact from Manchester United'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2019

BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Inaki Williams of Athletic Bilbao during the La Liga Santander  match between Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad at the Estadio San Mames on August 30, 2019 in Bilbao Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has said he was contacted by Manchester United before penning a new nine-year deal at the San Mames Stadium in August.

The 25-year-old was linked with a move to Old Trafford before committing his future to Athletic, per BBC Sport.

He has now said he was in contact with United but added he plans to stay at Bilbao for his entire career, per Cadena SER's El Larguero programme (h/t Football Espana): "I had contact from Manchester United, but I cannot tell you who it was. My number one option has always been to stay at Athletic Club and to retire here. Joining Real Sociedad? No, I could never go there. One hundred percent."

An Athletic Bilbao youth graduate, Williams has been a key part of the club's senior side since the 2014-15 season, and he has played a part in every one of their La Liga games since the end of the 2015-16 season:

He enjoyed his most prolific season to date in 2018-19, when he scored 13 goals and provided four assists in the Spanish top flight.

United are arguably lacking in depth in attack after both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez joined Inter Milan, though summer signing Daniel James has started his United career in fine fashion:

Still, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial to increase their output in front of goal this term if the Red Devils are to break the Premier League's top four again.

Williams could have been a fine addition to United's squad to make up for the goals lost by the departure of Lukaku, and his remarkable pace would have made him a good fit in Solskjaer's system.

However, the Bilbao-born forward has now made it quite clear he does not want to leave Athletic, and the £125 million release clause included in his latest contract is likely to ward of most suitors.

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