Arsenal plot £8m summer bid for Swansea star

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ready to launch an £8m summer move for Swansea defender Ashley Williams after losing faith in first-choice partnership Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker, according to the Guardian.

The Gunners boss is likely to face competition from Liverpool for the signing of the Wales international, but Wenger is keen to beat Brendan Rodgers to a player he sees as a potential leader of the Arsenal defence.

Wenger views Williams as the man to organise the Arsenal back-line, after it came in for criticism once again following a below-par showing against Tottenham in the north London derby.

The report claims the 28-year-old Williams would likely cost as much as £8m as his Swansea contract runs until 2015.

The Welshman has been a rock at the heart of the Swansea defence ever since he joined the club from Stockport under Roberto Martinez.

Wenger reportedly identified the need for a new centre-half before the Tottenham defeat, but after watching Vermaelen and Mertesacker struggle once again to contain a Premier League attack, the Arsenal boss has resolved to move for Williams in the summer.

He considered a bid in January, but ultimately decided to stick with Vermaelen and Mertesacker - two experienced internationals.

But the Arsenal centre-backs have failed to lead the Gunners defence this campaign, and on more than one occasion sloppy goals have cost the Emirates Stadium side important points.

Liverpool are believed to be preparing for Jamie Carragher's retirement, and see Williams as potential competition for Martin Skrtel.

A move could also spell the end for 22-year-old Sebastian Coates at Anfield.

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