Is Swansea's Ashley Williams an ideal replacement for Everton's John Stones?
Since promotion from the Championship, Ashley Williams has been one of Swansea City’s star performers. Whilst others, the likes of Joe Allen, Michel Vorm, Wilfried Bony, and co. have moved on, Williams has remained at the Liberty Stadium. Now, that looks under threat, with the Mirror reporting that Everton and their new boss, Ronald Koeman, the latest potential suitors considering a move for the centre half.
Only five clubs had a worse defensive record than Roberto Martinez’s outfit in the Premier League last season, and with young John Stones said to be nearing a £50 million move to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, central defence is a top priority for the Dutch manager as he seeks to rebuild an Everton side capable of competing for European football under new ownership.
The Swans will be reluctant to part with their loyal captain, though the Mirror claim that they would consider an offer of just £10 million it is hard to imagine that any offer will be accepted for a player of his stature. That is, of course, unless Williams is keen on the move. With two years left to run on his current contract, and having missed just nine Premier League games in the five seasons since their promotion, Francesco Guidolin will be desperately hoping that this won’t be the case.
After nearly eight years with the Swans, he may consider that it is time for a move after his impressive performances at Euro 2016 which drew plaudits from across the footballing world. Swansea had been slowly progressing, but in the past few seasons that seems to have stalled slightly. Only narrowly avoiding a real relegation scrap last term, Williams will be considering whether this is his last opportunity to show what he can do at the top level having previously turned down moves to the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal.
With a WhoScored match performance rating averaging over 7.0 in every Premier League season he has played – a rare feat even for top players – it is clear to see why Williams is in demand. He has grown a reputation as one of the league’s top defenders, with the only doubts remaining surrounding his ability to mix it at the top level in European competition, with just four games in European competition under his belt with Swansea. Those doubts now appear to have been put to bed as he dealt well with the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo in France this summer.
For Everton, he may not be the youthful centre back option to lead their back line for the next decade, nor is he the prestigious signing that many hoped their new ownership would help them to bring, but when looking for a reliable centre back in the Premier League to shore up a leaky back line, there are few options better than this Welshman. At £10 million, Williams could be one of the best bargain buys this summer.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Ai Kagou.