Ashley Williams seemed like a logical target for Arsenal—a reliable veteran defender capable of filling any potential holes along the back line. But the lack of progress in talks means the Gunners should start looking elsewhere to fill the void.
Rory Smith of the Times reports Swansea City continue to hold firm on their asking price for the Welsh international. So despite manager Arsene Wenger's interest in Williams, the transfer talks have hit a hurdle that might not get jumped.
Swansea City's refusal to lower their £10 million asking price for their captain Ashley Williams could guarantee Thomas Vermaelen, his counterpart at Arsenal, a future at the Emirates Stadium.
Williams is coming off another solid season for Swansea. He appeared in 37 Premier League matches exclusively in the center of defense, providing consistent play throughout. He also played a key role in helping the club claim the Capital One Cup.
He's not the type of player who's going to amaze you with his speed or aerial ability. Instead, he relies on experience and strong technical skill to make an impact. Every club needs a couple of those hard-nosed players to be successful.
So the interest from Arsenal shouldn't be a surprise. At the same time, Wenger can't afford to overpay for a player without a direct route to playing time.
If Williams moved to the Gunners, he would likely be expected to take on a more versatile role. If there were an injury or a player going through a stretch of rough form, he would step in and provide stability at the back.
Although that would still result in a lot of appearances for the 28-year-old defender, it's not the same as if he were going to become the focal point of the Arsenal defense.
Given the strong play of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker during the latter stages of the campaign, Arsenal doesn't need a starter. They need more of a utility player.
Williams would be an ideal fit for the role but, as always, it comes down to price. Arsenal have a couple other needs to address in the coming months, including upgrading areas of the attack. It means Wenger must spend wisely.
Swansea probably understand that and continue to command top dollar with hopes of keeping their top central defender. It's the transfer game that plays out every window. Wenger has been through it enough to know when to back off.
Unless the price comes down, Williams isn't the answer for Arsenal.