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Williams signs new nine-year Athletic contract amid Man Utd rumours

12:51 GMT+3 12/08/2019
Inaki Williams Athletic Club 2018-19
The 25-year-old has committed his long-term future to the San Mames outfit despite reports linking him with a move to Old Trafford

Athletic Club striker Inaki Williams has signed a new nine-year contract with the Spanish club amid rumours that he was a transfer target for Manchester United.

The highly rated 25-year-old agreed a deal which could keep him at the Liga putfit until June, 2028 while it has also upped his release clause from around €85 million (£81m/$95m) to €135m (£125m/$150m). 

Williams, who has been with the Basque side since 2014, has warmly welcomed the move.

“I’m very happy," he said. “I am proud to be tied to this great club that has given me everything.

“I’ve always said that I’m where I want to be, I’m very happy in Bilbao. I’m very happy at Athletic Club and I just have to show it with work, effort and above all trying to help the team with goals.

“The club has given me everything, I feel it is my home. I only have words of gratitude.”

Williams also set his sights on pushing ahead with his hometown club and progressing their standing.

"Thank you for supporting me. Above all for always being with me in bad times. It’s a day to enjoy to be happy and hopefully great things can come because what I want to make this club bigger if possible. 

“This, as you can see, is my house, and all I want I have it here. I’m very proud to be part of Athletic.

The pacey frontman has scored 49 goals in 204 appearances for Athletic Club and has been widely admired across Europe, particularly in the Premier League.

Manchester United have reportedly been monitoring his progress closely, and he was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford as they sought a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku eventually left for Serie A giants Inter on deadline day for a fee of €80m (£74m/$90m) but United decided against signing a replacement before the closure of the transfer window.

They were rumoured in Spain to be considering triggering Williams' release but in the end did not press ahead with their interest.

Manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer selected a twin strike force of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for United’s Premier League opener against Chelsea on Sunday and they were both on the scoresheet in a 4-0 win.