Arsenal really needs to add another striker, or even an upgrade to Olivier Giroud. The team desperately needs to fill the holding midfielder role despite how admirably Mikel Arteta has played this season. Improving at keeper or adding another right-back should be on the wish list as well.
So it might come as some surprise that one of the players Arsene Wenger reportedly has a lot of interest in is center-back Ashley Williams from Swansea City. Should a player like Williams really be a priority this summer?
The answer to that question, by the way, is no. From Matt Law of the Mirror:
Arsene Wenger has given Ashley Williams a seal of approval in a bid to beat Liverpool to his signing. And that will only strengthen theories inside the Emirates that boss Wenger will listen to offers for club captain Thomas Vermaelen this summer. Sunday Mirror Sport has learned Wenger turned on the charm with Williams after Arsenal’s victory over the Swans last month.
The report adds, "And over the past fortnight Wenger is believed to have made it clear he is interested in signing £9 million-rated Williams."
It's one thing that the team's captain, Vermaelen, has fallen out of favor of late and been relegated to the bench. And part of that benching simply has to do with the fact that Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have been playing very well together as a pair of late.
But to ship him out and replace him with Williams, a player some would argue barely represents an upgrade (if any upgrade at all)?
Color me skeptical.
Arsenal has too many needs that need filling if it hopes to compete for a championship next season to worry about swapping center-backs. Adding a top-notch holding midfielder should take top priority, while bringing on an elite option at striker shouldn't be far behind.
All of Wenger's praise for Williams may not even be a thinly-veiled overture to the player. Instead, it might be—alongside the recent benching—a bit of motivation being sent Vermaelen's way to improve his play.
Read the subtext here, folks. Wenger is letting Vermaelen know that he is not only replaceable, but the manager already has his replacement in his sights, based on this report.
Ashley Williams would be an upgrade to Thomas Vermaelen.
That's how I'm choosing to read this report. The Gunners need to make a splash this summer, and Wenger knows it. Williams isn't a splash. Frankly, he's barely the little ripple you see on the water after you perfectly skip a stone.
If the plan is to ship out Vermaelen and add Williams, than he's a suitable replacement. But for now, the Gunners have far greater priorities.