Arsenal have renewed their interest in Swansea City defender Ashley Williams. The Gunners are reportedly keen to strengthen their defensive options and see the Welshman as a potentially key signing, according to reports in the Mirror.
The report stated that Arsene Wenger had the Wales central defender watched by a senior scout during Swansea’s Europa League clash against Malmo on Thursday. They remain in talks with Swansea over their skipper, but have so far refused to meet their £10m valuation.
The pre-season injuries to Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal may finally force Arsene Wenger’s hand, after disagreeing with the Swans over their initial price of the player. Thomas Vermaelen faces a lengthy spell on the sideline which has left the Frenchman fairly short on options. As a result, he is set to reignite his interest in Williams, who has been on his radar for some time.
The Gunners were heavily linked with a move for the centre half earlier this summer, but the Swans’ desire to keep hold of the centre-back effectively ended all hope of a switch to London. The report also stated that Arsenal now understand the Welsh club may now be willing to let him go for £8.5 m if a top club comes in.
Arsene Wenger’s squad was among the top defensive teams in the English Premier League last season, conceding just 37 goals in 38 matches. Per Mertesacker formed a hugely successful partnership with Koscielny last season, but following up on that impressive performance will require poise and depth in front of goal. Williams not only adds another body to the mix, but an immense amount of talent and leadership.
The 28-year-old has starred at Swansea City for the past six seasons, appearing in the Premier League in each of the past two campaigns since the club was elevated from the Football League Championship in 2011.
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Williams has started 74 of 76 league matches for Swansea since the start of 2011, scoring just one goal but proving a solid rock at the back over that time. In addition to excelling physically, Williams has earned the respect of his coaches and peers, captaining both Swansea and the Wales senior national team.
The Gunners defence seems like it requires more depth with Djourou recently loaned out, meaning just three senior centre backs remain on the books. Wenger basically has two options either to promote Miquel or splash some cash on Williams.
The main argument against buying Williams is when Vermaelen returns to fitness Wenger could essentially have to chose one of the two left out centre backs to miss the squad sheet entirely. While a signing a centre back seems like a priority with the captain out injured, the squad requires strengthening elsewhere. Monreal’s injury has also been played down as the Spaniard returns to training next week.
Sagna can provide depth at centre half and so can Miquel who requires game time. He is a top talent and has a future with the Gunners, however has often been played on the left which is not his natural position.
What are your thoughts Gooners? Do you think it will be money well spent on Williams? Comment below..