A major update has emerged on Southampton target Neco Williams regarding his transfer status this summer.
According to The Athletic, the Liverpool right-back is set to push for an Anfield exit this summer in search of regular game-time. The 20-year-old wants to be a first-choice option and is now prepared to leave Merseyside after the European Championship to achieve his goal.
The report claims that Southampton, Burnley and Leeds have all shown an interest in signing Williams this year. Liverpool are expected to demand a fee in the region of £10m for the Welsh international, who is set to ask the club to let him leave upon returning for pre-season training next month.
Last year, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp labeled Williams a ‘machine’ in training, telling the club’s official website: “Neco from the first day he trained with us, he trained like a machine.
“Every day he became better and better and better and I thought, ‘OK, what’s that?!’ Unfortunately then, in the moment he started playing for us, I saw it, he got a little physical knock, like it was always really intense all of the time. But then he had to play.”
Southampton fans would likely be fuming if Williams arrives at St. Mary’s this summer for £10m. The Saints already have a first-choice right-back in Kyle Walker-Peters, and Williams has not shown enough for Liverpool to suggest that he could replace the former Tottenham man.
Signing him could mean that £10m would be wasted by Martin Semmens if he decides to sanction a deal for the £25,000-per-week defender in the coming weeks.
Walker-Peters enjoyed a solid campaign with Southampton as he started 30 of the club’s 38 Premier League matches, averaging a WhoScored rating of 6.84. His defensive numbers were impressive as he averaged 2.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game – only three full-backs (Tyrick Mitchell, Serge Aurier and Luke Ayling) won more tackles per game in the Premier League.
This highlights how strong the right-back was defensively and why signing a player for £10m in his position may not be a wise move for the Saints.
Williams has averaged one tackle and 1.4 interceptions per game across his short career for Wales and Liverpool so far. The 20-year-old recorded a WhoScored rating of 6.49 in the Premier League in the season just gone for the Reds, which does not stand out in comparison to Walker-Peters.
Therefore, Semmens should be avoiding a deal for Williams at £10m as it does not appear to be a good signing on paper for the Saints for the reasons listed above. If Southampton want to bolster their full-back options, they should look for a player who has already proven that he can compete at a high level or is available for significantly less than £10m.