Inaki Williams confirms he could have joined Liverpool in 2019

Inaki Williams has made 346 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, scoring 75 goals
Inaki Williams has made 346 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, scoring 75 goals / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has confirmed reports claiming he could have joined Liverpool in 2019, but his longstanding loyalty to the Basque club ultimately prevailed.

The 28-year-old, who made his debut for Ghana during the international break after switching allegiance from Spain, had long been rumoured to be a target for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Spanish publication AS reported earlier this year that the Reds had been prepared to activate the €88m release clause in Williams' contract at the time, off the back of an impressive season in which he had scored 12 goals in La Liga. Soon after, he signed a new deal at San Mames until 2028 that raised the buyout fee to an even more prohibitive €135m.

In a lengthy interview with AS, Williams was specifically asked about Liverpool and said: “I had an option to leave. There were contacts in which I kept my position clear.

Scott SaundersGraeme BaileyToby Cudworth and Sean Walsh bring you a brand new episode of Talking Transfers. The team discuss Jude Bellingham's future, Bayern Munich's interest in Harry Kane, widespread Premier League interest in Mykhaylo Mudryk and plenty more. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

"It’s nice that clubs like this try to get you, but I was always clear that I want to be at Athletic.”

Last season, Williams broke the La Liga record for consecutive appearances in the competition when he made his 203rd appearance in a row for Bilbao. In April 2022, the forward marked six years since he last missed a game for the club he joined in 2014.