Arsenal handed £51m transfer blow amid 'agreement in principle' claims

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Arsenal will be forced to prioritise alternative winger-options following latest reports

Arsenal have been handed a huge transfer blow in their pursuit of Spain and Athletic Bilbao star Nico Williams following the recent reports that have suggested Barcelona have reached an ‘agreement in principle’ with the 21-year-old.

The Gunners had been eyeing up a move for the winger as Mikel Arteta looks to find alternative squad options for the upcoming season as they once again plan to launch a title-challenging attack.

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Wolves’ Pedro Neto and Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze have also been linked with a move to the Emirates but it had been the Euros 2024 sensation Williams that had been claimed to be the key transfer target. The Spanish star had also been the recipient of interest from Liverpool and Chelsea but the ultimate dream had always been the Catalan giants, Barcelona.

CaughtOffSide, however, has reported that the new Barca head coach Hansi Flick has kept a close eye on Williams’ impressive performances in Germany over the past few weeks. The report goes on to say Barca are to sell Ansu Fati and Raphinha this summer in order to keep Williams in the Spanish top league with Bilbao placing now a €60m (£50.6m) price tag on him.

While both teams are to meet with the player’s agents soon, the report notes that watching Williams team up with Barcelona’s 16-year-old star Lamine Yamal for La Roja indicates the magic that could take place if the Athletic star remains in Spain. Flick is understood to have approved the transfer. All that remains from the Camp Nou club’s point of view is to get the discussions rolling and have the player commit to them rather than Arsenal.

Reports in Spain, via Football365, have added to this further by reporting that Barcelona and Williams have ‘reached an agreement in principle’ and the Catalan giants are on the ‘verge of closing the first big signing of this summer’. Barcelona are ‘now close to finalising the signing’ and its believed it could be ‘finalised shortly after the final’ of the ongoing European Championships. Spain will face either England or the Netherlands in Sunday’s European final with Nico Williams set to play a pivotal role in the game.

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