Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has confirmed summer interest from Manchester United was more than just speculation as the club held discussions with him.
The 25-year-old was associated with a potential transfer to Old Trafford but ultimately signed a bumper nine-year contract with the Basque giants last month, immediately quashing any possibility of a departure.
Why did Williams reject Man Utd? Five things to know…
- Williams has long been tipped with a transfer away from Athletic Bilbao since emerging in 2014/15.
- Man Utd were heavily linked this summer, with Solskjaer supposedly eager to add Williams to his frontline.
- The Red Devils parted with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez but only signed one attacker: Daniel James.
- Williams currently holds the record for most consecutive outfield La Liga appearances this century (122).
- The Spaniard has now revealed the reason he rejected Man Utd is because of his love for Athletic Bilbao.
It was believed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had identified the Spain international as the ideal successor to Romelu Lukaku – who joined Inter Milan over the summer – which has since been proven accurate as Williams has confirmed interest from the Red Devils.
“I had contact from Manchester United but I cannot tell you who it was,” Williams told Cadena Ser.
“My number one option has always been to stay at Athletic Club and to retire here. Joining Real Sociedad? No, I could never go there. 100 per cent.”
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Williams’ nine-year deal
With speculation gaining serious momentum that Williams would end a seven-year association with Athletic Bilbao and leave San Mames over the summer, he responded defiantly by signing a new deal until 2028.
The nine-year extension is one of the longest deals ever handed to a player in world football but came just 12 months shy of matching the 10-year contract given to Denilson in 1998 by Real Betis.
Williams’ new deal includes a €135m (£125m) release clause, while he has already started the new campaign in typical fashion, netting his first La Liga goal of 2019/20 against Real Sociedad during the club’s last outing.
Gaizka Garitano’s side currently sit second in the Spanish top-flight having triumphed 1-0 against Barcelona earlier this season, while their next meeting is against Mallorca on Friday.