Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What does the future hold for Ashley Williams?

Ashley Williams has been a true revelation in South Wales, as the Swansea skipper has lead the club to a top half finish in the Premier League, cup glory in the Capital One Cup and Europa League football next season.
The Swansea captain has since been heavily linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium, with Arsenal rumoured to be his club of choice.
Just a few weeks ago, Williams was reportedly very close to finalising a deal to join the Gunners though the transfer has seemingly stumbled in recent weeks.
Despite this, the speculation surrounding Ashley Williams’ future has been on-going with several newspapers publishing articles claiming that the Swansea and Wales captain is ready to quit the club in search of a new challenge.
Although the main club that look to be chasing Williams’ signature is Arsenal, both Merseyside clubs - Liverpool and Everton - have also been linked with moves for the man who completed 86% of his passes last season in the Premier League.
Liverpool, and manager Brendan Rodgers in particular, are reportedly keen to link up with Rodgers' former defensive star, Ashley Williams, as a replacement for Martin Skrtel, who has been heavily rumoured with a move away from Anfield.
Everton have also emerged as a destination for Williams since the appointment of former Swans’ boss Roberto Martinez as the club’s new manager. Martinez was the manager to first notice Williams’ talent as he spent around £400,000 on the former Stockport centre-half.
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Ashley Williams as a replacement for an outgoing centre-half that is currently on the Arsenal books.
The two players who may be heading for the exit door at the Emirates are Thomas Vermaelen - who is said to be keen to push a move through after falling out of favour with manager Arsene Wenger towards the end of the season - and Laurent Koscielny, to whom Barcelona and Bayern Munich are said to be interested.
Williams would undoubtedly be a good fit for Arsenal should he decide to move to the North London club. He has won more aerial duels than Per Mertersacker, made over 100 more accurate passes than Vermaelen, and has also won more ground 50-50s than Laurent Koscielny.
With Swansea’s style of play being similar to the style of play that Arsenal are famous for, Williams looks a perfect replacement for either Laurent Koscielny or Thomas Vermaelen.
However, Swansea will not let one of their prized assets go for anything less than £10 million, while Chairman Huw Jenkins has reiterated the fact that the club are in no rush to sell their best players. This reluctance to sell seems to have put off Arsenal from purchasing the man who has 41 international caps, and is most likely the reason why the deal has stalled recently.
The Swans are of course used to seeing players come and go, with former stars such as Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdson and Scott Sinclair all top performers who have recently left the club.
If Williams did leave the Liberty Stadium outfit, the on field captaincy would more than likely go to club stalwart and midfield maestro Leon Britton, with Gary Monk remaining as Club captain.
The current Champions, Manchester United, are heading to the Liberty on the opening weekend of the season and it is not yet clear whether Williams will still be playing for Wales’ top footballing side. If he did go, who does Laudrup see as his successor at the back?
Sevilla defender Alberto Botia looks the likely candidate to fill Williams’ boots with Michael Laudrup confirming interest in the player, and Botia himself claims that Swansea did make a bid for him in the January transfer window.
Espanyol defender Jordi Amat has also been rumoured with a £2 million switch to the Principality as Laudrup once again looks to the good value Spanish market to replenish his squad. 


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