Juventus have reportedly joined Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign Athletic Club Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams. AS claims that the Serie A giants have sent scouts to Spain to watch him in action in recent games and would even be willing to meet his €50m (£43.4m, $52.8m) release clause to lure him to Italy in the coming summer transfer window.
The 22-year-old versatile forward has garnered a reputation as one of the most promising talents to emerge from the prolific Spanish academy since making his breakthrough into the Basque side first-team in the 2014-2015 campaign, having since scored 21 goals and provided 14 assists in 99 appearances.
Liverpool were already heavily linked with his services in January 2016 after reports suggested that Jurgen Klopp saw the Spaniard like a new Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to his speed and his versatility to adapt to the number nine role, despite having begun his career as a winger.
Athletic decided to react to those rumours by convincing the Spanish Under-21 international to put pen to paper on a new deal at Athletic Club until 2021, raising his release clause to €50m from his original €20m.
However, speculations have resurfaced in recent weeks after The Daily Mirror reported that Klopp had earmarked the Spaniard and Aubameyang as the two main candidates to replace Daniel Sturridge in the summer, as the German boss is set to part ways with his injury-troubled striker at the end of the season.
AS now adds that Liverpool scouters have been regular in San Mames this season, pointing out that the Merseysiders were already tempted to sign him last year when his release clause was set at only €20m.
But the Spanish publication says that Klopp's side face stiff competition to secure his services as Juventus are also closely monitoring the forward and would be willing to meet his clause to beat other suitors.
Yet, the report claims that Athletic could also consider to hand him another new deal in order to increase his buy-out clause further as they did already last summer when Manchester City tried to sign Aymeric Laporte.
Liverpool, Juventus or other suitors would also need to convince Williams to make the move as the forward recently said that he remains very happy at Athletic.
"I have always said, and I maintain, that I am where I want to be and that I am very happy in Bilbao," Williams told Marca. "I do not want a change of pace, my family is very comfortable here, my teammates are happy with me and I am very happy to be with them. My first choice will always be Athletic,
"I am where I want to be and also very happy. Having a contract [until 2021] gives stability but I am not satisfied with what I have achieved. I always aspire to have more. I want more renewals [with Athletic] to come in the future."