Liverpool could strike January agreement to replace Mohamed Salah for free

Jurgen Klopp reviews Everton game

Liverpool could sign a potential long-term replacement for Mohamed Salah without spending a penny. Athletic Club forward Nico Williams is currently set to be available on a free transfer next summer and can talk to foreign clubs about signing a pre-contract agreement from January.

The 21-year-old is an exciting young winger capable of playing on both sides and has managed 10 caps for Spain, with some of them coming at the World Cup in Qatar. And 90min say he is on Liverpool’s radar, with Arsenal, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Aston Villa also all keen.

La Liga side Athletic Club still expect the Basque-born player to commit his future to the club but he is rapidly approaching the window where he is able to speak to overseas clubs about moving as a free agent in 2024.

Should the contract stand-off at San Mames not be resolved, Williams would be an attractive proposition for Liverpool. Landing a player of his quality and potential, at his age, twinned with his appealing versatility, without the need for a transfer fee would be quite the coup.

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The tricky Williams has four La Liga assists in seven outings this season and enjoyed a nine-goal, six-assist campaign last term from 43 appearances. He is right-footed, and so would be a different type of player to Salah who is a left-footed right winger, but nonetheless could be the heir to the Egyptian’s spot out wide.

The Reds are rich for options on the left with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez all capable of playing there. On the right there are fewer obvious long-term successors to Salah who has been tipped to leave Anfield to head to the Middle East at the end of the season.

Even if he does not, and instead he signs a new contract on Merseyside, Liverpool will still be drawing up plans to replace their top goalscorer in the long term. Salah, after all, turns 32 next June. As such his performances and output will be expected to decline in a few years’ time.

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Strengthening their attack with Williams on a free would allow the Premier League giants to concentrate their finances on their midfield and defence. Strengthening both areas remains a priority with Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip both to leave for free next July.

Liverpool will be waiting patiently to see how Williams’ situation plays out. But if he becomes available on a free there would be plenty of sense in swooping to sign the Spaniard. Especially if Jurgen Klopp can utilise his talents in the same way he has the likes of Salah and Sadio Mane.

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