Newcastle transfer news: Toon wanted to sign Nico Williams
Newcastle transfer news: Toon wanted to sign Nico Williams
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Newcastle transfer news: Toon wanted to sign Nico Williams

Newcastle United reportedly wanted to sign Nico Williams from Athletic Bilbao during the January transfer window.

That is according to the Athletic, who state that the 20-year-old was one of two options shortlisted to replace the outgoing Chris Wood.

The New Zealander joined Nottingham Forest on loan with an option to buy, and the Magpies decided to replace him with a winger rather than an out-and-out centre forward.

Anthony Gordon was ultimately the one who came in to replace Wood, costing £45million from Everton. There is a lot of excitement surrounding his arrival, and he could make his debut on Saturday evening against West Ham.

However, he was not the only young winger who Newcastle looked at signing last month.

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Nico Williams was Newcastle’s unnamed target

During the pursuit of Gordon, the Athletic reported that Newcastle had another target on their radar – an unnamed player from abroad. Now it appears that the player in question was Williams.

He is the younger brother of Inaki, who plays alongside him at Bilbao. But while Inaki represents Ghana, Nico is a Spain international and appeared at the World Cup last year.

The youngster is an incredibly exciting talent, whose obscene speed and dribbling ability makes him massively dangerous in attack.

In an interview, his brother Inaki described Nico as ‘practically unstoppable‘ in one-on-one situations and labelled him as a ‘rough diamond that needs to be polished‘.

Nico also backs his own ability, and believes he is very good at running with the ball.

“I am a dribbler like Neymar, [Ousmane] Dembele, and Mbappe,” he said last year.

Gordon is Premier League ready, unlike Williams

Williams is adding end product to his game too, and currently has six goals and five assists in all competitions for Bilbao this season.

In contrast, Gordon only has three goals, while he is yet to provide an assist. He will be looking to change that in a Newcastle shirt, as he looks to justify the £45million investment.

One advantage that Gordon has over Williams is that he’s Premier League ready, and can have an instant impact in black and white. If Williams had signed, he would have required a settling in period, much like the one Bruno Guimaraes experienced last season.

With Gordon through the door, it will be interesting to see whether or not Newcastle look at Williams again in the future. Given his age, there is surely every chance that the Spaniard could be on Dan Ashworth’s radar in the summer and beyond, especially given Newcastle’s willingness to revisit old targets if they miss out.