Inaki Williams Claims Manchester United Approached Him Last Year
Athletic Bilbao star Inaki Williams has revealed that he was close to moving to Manchester United last season. However, he maintained that he is happy in Basque with hopes to stay with the club for the remainder of his career.
Williams has long been the subject of transfer rumors with links to several elite clubs. With the forward's revelation, it appears those rumors were true after all, although he would not reveal who specifically from United reached out to him last year.
In an interview with El Larguero, Williams discussed the potential move to Manchester that never happened:
"I had contact from Manchester United but I cannot tell you who it was," Williams revealed. "Athletic have always been my number one option. I'm really happy here, I'd like to retire here."
Iñaki Williams has played 122 consecutive LaLiga games, the longest streak by any player in the 21st century. Iñaki Williams has clocked the fastest speed in @LaLiga so far this season: 34.37km/h Stamina Speed pic.twitter.com/6iXNKjlyAq — Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 5, 2019
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. The 25-year-old also dismissed the possibility of a transfer to rivals Real Sociedad, emphasizing he's "100 percent" he'd never consider a transfer.
It was widely reported that Williams would finally end his seven-year association with Athletic Club and leave San Mames for good. However, all rumors vanished when it was announced that he has been given a new deal with the club until 2028.
The nine-year extension is one of the longest deals ever handed to a player in world football but came just 12 months shy of matching the 10-year contract given to Denilson in 1998 by Real Betis.
The new deal that Williams signed comes with a £125 million release clause. He started the new campaign with a bang, scoring his first La Liga goal against Real Sociedad.
Manager Gaizka Garitano will be hopeful his side can challenge for a European place in La Liga this season. The coach steadied the ship after coming in midway through the 2018-19 term, helping Athletic finish eighth after a challenging start.
Williams scored 13 goals for Athletic last season, his best return for the Spanish side to date.