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Rumour Mongering: €50M Spanish Star on Reds’ Shortlist

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Inaki Williams is on Liverpool’s attacking target shortlist, but his hefty price tag is likely to scupper any deal.

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Ask most Liverpool fans, and they will tell you that the club is targeting at least one high calibre, versatile attacker. A player who can add pace on the wings to compliment Sadio Mané, fill in at striker in a pinch, and add a fourth name to a rotation that currently has just three in Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Philippe Coutinho.

Heading back into Europe next season, at least one major signing to strengthen the attack is going to be necessary. And if you were to ask most Liverpool fans, they would tell you the club are meant to be targeting Julian Brandt to be that signing. But there could be another. There could be Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams.

According to Guillem Balague, Williams is a genuine target of the Reds and one of the players on Jürgen Klopp's attacker shortlist alongside Brandt. A buyout clause that the player is still a season or two away from justifying and Bilbao's aversion to selling their homegrown talent, though, is making any dealings difficult.

"He is followed by Liverpool and has a €50M buyout," Balague told Sky Sports this week, confirming what it would likely cost to land the young star. "I'm not sure any team would be willing to pay that right now because he has not proved that valuation. He is in no rush, but he is certainly looking abroad should he move."

A compromise on that €50M, or £42M, fee would be unlikely given Bilbao's insistence on only signing Basque players, something that makes is almost impossible for them to dip into the transfer market and instead rely almost wholly on developing their own talent. Talent like the 22-year-old Williams.

And on paper at least, Williams looks the perfect Liverpool target. Young, pacy, technically gifted, and capable of playing anywhere in an attacking three. His arrival could simultaneously cover the club's need for a pacy alternative to Mané and the need to sign player capable of filling the striker role.

He isn't worth what it would take to sign him, though, and as Bilbao are unlikely to sell him for less than his release clause, this is a potential deal that looks a non-starter, no matter whether Liverpool are genuinely interested. If the Brandt deal falls through, though, then anything might be possible.