Athletic Club Bilbao star Iñaki Williams has reassured fans his long-term future lies at San Mames, despite renewed speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool. Reports in recent days suggested that Jurgen Klopp had identified him as the new Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the pacy winger has now said that he wants "to be Athletic's future No.9" instead.
The Spanish Under 21 international garnered a big reputation in the youth ranks of San Mames before being handed his first-team debut in 2014. The 22-year-old winger has since proven to be a sensation, scoring eight goals in 25 La Liga appearances last season before being included by Vicente Del Bosque in the Spanish squad pre-list for the Euro 2016.
Such elevation to the top flight also attracted the attention of a number European giants during the last January mercato.
The Guardian reported in January that Klopp was closely monitoring his development ahead of luring the player to Liverpool, with Tottenham, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid also tracking his progress.
The Daily Mail later added that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also mulling over a January swoop for the young forward.
That news forced Athletic to react and days later Williams committed his long-term future to San Mames by signing a new deal until 2021. The club also raised his release clause to €50m (£44.5m, $54.5m) from his original €20m to ward off potential suitors.
However, reports in Spain in recent days claimed that such a clause has not been enough to dissuade the big-money Premier League spenders as Liverpool are still monitoring the situation.
Sky Sports suggested last week that Klopp could make the Spaniard his new Aubameyang at Liverpool. Yet, as the Borussia Dortmund striker, the Spaniard is a winger but would like to play in a more advance role in the near future to take the most of his pace. However, Williams has made it clear that his idea is to continue at Athletic.
But asked during an interview with AS whether the interest from Liverpool could see him leaving San Mames in the short-term, he said: "Like I said at the time. I'm happy at Athletic, it's where I want to be. I am very grateful to the fans, the club and my team mates. I want to continue here for many more years.
"I want to be Athletic's future No.9 - the player who raises the roof at San Mamés every week and scores lot of goals."