Athletic Bilbao winger Inaki Williams has ruled out a move away this summer, amid reported interest from a host of clubs, including Liverpool.
Williams was first linked with the Reds at the beginning of last year, but ultimately signed a new long-term contract with the La Liga side.
However, recent reports from Spain suggested Liverpool would step up their efforts to sign the 22-year-old in a complicated £42.5 million deal.
One of the most promising young talents in the Spanish top flight, Williams would have been an excellent addition to Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, with the German in need of reinforcements out wide.
But he must now look elsewhere, according to Williams, who delivered an emphatic statement of his commitment to Bilbao this week.
“I am where I want to be and also very happy. The contract gives stability,” he said.
“But I am not a person who is satisfied with what has been achieved and I always aspire to have more. I want future renewals to keep coming.
“People were able to take my words out of context. I have always said, and I maintain, that I am where I want to be and that I am very happy in Bilbao.
“I do not want to change airs, my family is very comfortable here, my team-mates are with me and my first choice will always be Athletic.”
This rules out another potential target for Klopp this summer, with the focus fixed heavily on Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.
Previously linked players such as Christian Pulisic, Emil Forsberg and Quincy Promes have all reiterated their commitment to their current clubs, with Williams joining that number.
This leaves considerable pressure on the Reds to secure their priority mark, but with reports that Real Madrid were scouting Brandt during Leverkusen’s 4-2 loss to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, this could prove costly.
As last summer’s failed pursuits of Ben Chilwell, Mahmoud Dahoud, Piotr Zielinski and Mario Gotze among others proved, identifying a number of targets is crucial.
Magnifying this is the likelihood of Liverpool qualifying for European competition next season, ensuring they will be fighting on four fronts in 2017/18, requiring more depth to the squad.
It is questionable whether Klopp was ever interested in Williams or that it was mere paper talk, but this statement hammers home the need to earmark alternatives to Brandt.