Having been linked with a move for Swansea City defender Ashley Williams previously in the summer transfer window, the Gunners are now facing an uphill battle if they wish to sign the defender, with reports emerging that they will have to pay upwards of £10 million to sign the Wales international.
And spending over that amount on Williams is money that the North London club must avoid laying out—regardless of how good Williams might have been this year.
The news comes via a report from Sky Sports:
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.
But it will take an eight-figure bid this summer before Swansea grant permission for interested clubs to talk to the 28-year-old. Williams, who signed a new deal in October, is under contract at [Swansea] City for another two years.
Williams has started 35 Premier League games for the Swans this season and has been very strong at the back. He is averaging 2.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game as well as a staggering 10.7 clearances and 1.5 blocked shots (per Who Scored).
And despite the fact that he would seemingly fill a much-needed lack of solidity in the Gunners defense next season, Arsenal need to hold off making a move for him.
First off, the reality is that Arsenal do have a good defensive line.
They have been found wanting at the back this season, but between Thomas Vermaelen, Per Metresacker and Laurent Koscielny, they have good centre-back rotation. Both Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs on the left are very strong defenders, and Carl Jenkinson has impressed on the right as well—giving Arsenal a very good and consistent back line.
Why the success hasn't been there this season is hard to pin-point exactly, but it's tough to argue that it's been because the players they have aren't good enough.
Yes, there's been some poor performances and some errors, but that doesn't mean that their squad isn't good enough defensively. And it also doesn't mean that they need to splash out an eight-figure transfer fee just to try and solidify a position that's already pretty solid.
Williams is good, but he's not world class. He's not the type of player that Arsenal must have at all costs; he's just a good, solid, central defender for Swansea.
If Arsenal didn't already have three center-backs then it would be a different story, but given that they do, spending £10 million seems unnecessary. Particularly when their biggest transfer target according to Goal.com—Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic—is going to cost upwards of £20 million to try and sign.
The Gunners' defense needs depth, and so they need to bring in good young players who can provide cover throughout lesser competitions for their big-name players. They don't need a 28-year-old captain who's simply going to add more confusion into an already crowded central defensive spot.
If Koscielny or Vermaelen goes, then Williams is a good option. But until that happens, it's not worth bringing him in—and especially not for £10 million.
There's simply better options out there for the Gunners.
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