There is no question that Liverpool needs to solidify the central defense this summer, with Jamie Carragher set to retire. But one player that has been floated as a potential replacement, Swansea City's Ashley Williams, looks likely to be priced out of Liverpool's comfort zone.
According to a Sky Sports report, Swansea is hoping to receive eight figures for their 28-year-old defender:
Swansea will not consider selling their captain Ashley Williams for less than £10m, according to Sky sources.
The centre-half has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal after leading City to Capital One Cup glory and a likely mid-table Premier League finish.
And according to Richard Buxton of Goal.com, that price tag has convinced Liverpool's ownership to instruct Brendan Rodgers to look elsewhere for a centre-back:
Liverpool's owners are refusing to sanction Brendan Rodgers's plans to sign Ashley Williams, Goal.com can reveal.
The Swansea City defender had been heavily tipped to succeed Jamie Carragher at the heart of the Anfield club's back line next season, with the veteran centre-back set to hang up his boots, but Fenway Sports Group has no plans to rubber-stamp any deal.
The ownership group's reasoning is sound—at 28, Williams is not a long-term option at the position and is probably being overpriced by Swansea. Plus, Liverpool is likely to have a limited budget and has plenty of needs, meaning the team will have to spend its money wisely.
One defender that that team has been linked to is FC Twente's Douglas, who is 25 and could be had on a free transfer. While he isn't as sturdy or consistent as Williams, he would be far cheaper and still has plenty a lot of potential for Rodgers to mold.
Plus, Liverpool's goal is to reach the Champions League next season, and while the base is solid, this team could still use more class in the attack, namely on the wing. The combination of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho atop the attack is brilliant, but adding another classy winger is a must, and is sure to be an expensive endeavor.
Add in the fact that the team could also use another solid holding midfielder, and you can see why overspending for Williams may not be the best use of Liverpool's money. If this team can add several key contributors, look out.
For that reason, it's hard not to get excited about the future of this team.
They've bought into Brendan Rodgers' 4-3-3 system and spacing philosophy, while Rodgers has relaxed on his insistence for short, crisp passing and allowed players like Steven Gerrard the freedom to bomb away from the midfield with his deadly and accurate diagonal passing over the top of defenses.
Ashley Williams is worth the high cost for Liverpool.
That combination has led to a team that can be truly devastating on the attack, if not maddeningly inconsistent. But with a few added players of class, a more consistent attack moving forward should bridge the gap between Liverpool and the Manchester and London upper class in the top four.
So sorry, Ashley Williams, but you just aren't the type of value buy that Liverpool can afford this offseason, not with other needs to fill and better bargains like Douglas available.
Liverpool's ownership may have made a mistake not signing Clint Dempsey last summer, but they're right to avoid Williams this time around.