Athletic returned to training on Monday morning ahead of a Good Friday clash against Las Palmas. Iñaki Williams made it clear that he is happy, and wants to remain at San Mamés. The pacy forward also spoke about his mentor, Aritz Aduriz, and the possible departure of coach Ernesto Valverde.
Williams calms transfer speculation
Williams, who has registered four goals and five assists in La Liga this season, was eager to emphasise his intention to stay at Athletic Bilbao. He has been consistently linked with a move to one of Europe’s heavyweights.
“I’m relaxed… I´m very happy and I have always said that this is where I want to be. It’s an honour to come in every morning and be with my teammates and the coaching staff, I have no intention of a change of scenery.”
The 22 year old continued, “It’s flattering to have big teams interested in you, but I’m at the biggest, and I want to continue my career here.”
That desire is ostensibly shared by Williams’ teammates in the Basque Country.
“We all want to stay at Athletic, we’re happy. Moving to a different club is complicated, and I don’t think that any of my teammates want to leave, because we’re all happy.”
"Aduriz is my professor"
Williams understands that he needs to develop his game, but believes he has the ideal role model alongside him at Lezama.
“I need to improve in every aspect, I suppose. I still have a lot to learn. Aduriz is my professor; I pay a lot of attention to what he does, he is my point of reference, and he tries to help me.”
“All of us [youngsters] are learning from the veterans, they help us a lot.”
Aduriz recently notched his 100th goal for Athletic in La Liga, and behind Messi and Ronaldo, is the third highest-scoring active player. At 36 years old, the towering striker is enjoying a remarkable renaissance.
Speculation surrounding Ernesto Valverde’s future at the club has been rife; with Barcelona mentioned as a possible destination. Williams hopes that he will remain in Bilbao.
“It would be a shame for me [if he leaves], because he’s a great manager. The club, both the fans and us as players, is happy with what he has done here. We want him to continue. We don’t think about whether he’ll leave, or who might be the next coach, we just want to finish the season well, and that means finish in the European places.”
- Roque Mesa1007Passes
*Update 10 de abril de 2017