According to recent reports from Wayne Versey at Goal.com, the Gunners have met with the 28-year-old defender about a potential move, as they seek to strengthen their backline for the year ahead.
Arsenal held talks with representatives of Swansea City defender Ashley Williams last week, Goal.com can reveal. Williams' camp visited the London club for discussions as Arsenal stepped up their interest in the centre-back.
The Gunners are ready to go head-to-head with Liverpool this summer in a bid to price the £12 million-rated defender away from Swansea.
Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the 28-year-old, who he believes has the calibre and battle-hardened Premier League experience to beef up a defense that has been found wanting against the leading clubs this season.
The Gunners already have a bevy of options at central defense—Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker—but a move for Williams would still be a good option for the North London club to pursue, particularly if they lose one of that trio over the transfer window.
If either of those players leave, the Gunners will be needing some reinforcements at the back next season. As we've seen throughout this year, the Londoners do need plenty of cover in central defense—having suffered a host of injuries—and are in dire need of some new talent, having failed to establish themselves defensively in 2013.
Williams is a powerful defender who would be a ready-made replacement at the back for any of the defenders mentioned above. He is familiar with the English game, good in the air and importantly has averaged less than one turnover every three games for Swansea City this year.
The 28-year-old is a strong passer of the ball who would fit well into Arsenal's possession-based system as well, should he make a move in 2013.
Currently touted as a £5.3 million-rated player (per Transfermarkt), Williams would provide great return if one of their current defenders leaves. Granted that figure seems a little low, seeing the £12 million that Goal highlighted above, but even still, for £10 million, Williams would be a great steal.
Should the Gunners move for Ashley Williams?
The Welsh international would be a great squad player to have for the many games Arsenal would have next year, should they qualify for the Champions League. The prospect of playing European football could be the selling point for Williams, who would definitely be able to handle himself against Europe's elite strikers at the North London club.
So for Arsenal, if they can get him for around £10 million, the move is a no-brainer, and it's one that they should definitely see good results from—regardless of what happens with their other defenders this summer.
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