Chelsea could sign their next Eden Hazard this summer with stunning £43m summer swoop

The Blues have been linked with a move for an impressive La Liga winger
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To Spain, and more specifically, the Basque Country, for a story to warm even the stoniest of hearts. On Saturday evening, in the kind of fraught dusk that Iberian football tends to fizz and thrive, Athletic Bilbao ended their 40-year wait for a major trophy. Ernesto Valverde’s side would see off RCD Mallorca in a skittish penalty shootout to lift the Copa del Rey and chisel their name into a small corner of Spanish sporting history.

Central to Athletic’s success this season have been a pair of brothers, Inaki and Nico Williams. The elder, Inaki, has been a talismanic presence in Bilbao’s first team for a long while. His younger sibling, in direct contrast, has emerged, roaring into relevancy, over the past couple of years, and has been particularly scintillating during this, a breakout campaign for the 21-year-old.

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The Williams’ back story is quite something. Their parents, Maria and Felix, left Ghana in search of a better life while their mother was pregnant with Inaki. Barefoot, they crossed the Sahara before eventually making the panicked journey from North Africa to Abando, the economic centre of Bilbao. Once there, they settled in nearby Pamplona, home of the bull run, before Felix left to seek employment opportunities in London. One of his jobs in England involved working the turnstiles at Stamford Bridge during Chelsea matches. It would be quite the moment if one of his sons were to one day walk out onto that very pitch wearing the famous royal blue jersey.

It could happen, too. According to Football Insider, Chelsea are looking to ‘steal a march on their rivals’ by laying the ground work to sign Nico during the summer transfer window. The winger reportedly has a release clause of around £43 million written into his contract in Spain, and it is understood that the Blues are eager to agree a deal in the coming weeks, prior to the official opening of the market.

For his part, Williams is under contract in Bilbao until 2027, having only penned a contract extension in December, but there if Chelsea were to trigger the valuation scribbled into the fine print of that agreement, the hope would be that the attacker could be prised away and lured to the Premier League.

Versatile, unpredictable, and brimming with promise, it is little wonder that Williams is catching the eye at Stamford Bridge. So far this season, he has registered six goals and 14 assists in 30 outings across all competitions, and a quick glance at the relevant stats would tell you that the Spain international is among the most effective talents in La Liga with regards to successful dribbles, chances created, and crossing accuracy.

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Indeed, to watch Williams is to ponder when Chelsea last had a player so frequently capable of (positively) dumbfounding those around him. Eden Hazard immediately springs to mind, perhaps. Cole Palmer, maybe, if he can continue on his current trajectory. But there is no doubting that the Blues could really use an injection of whatever secret sauce it is that the Bilbao starlet is peddling; the pace at which he darts, the ease with which he bamboozles, the eye he boasts for invention.

Only time will tell whether Chelsea are willing to stump up Williams’ asking price, or indeed, if the player himself would be willing to leave his brother and the only club he has ever known for an English adventure. One thing is for sure, though - if the Blues can pull this off it would be quite the coup.

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