Everton are set to enter the race to sign Swansea defender Ashley Williams, with both Liverpool and Arsenal put off by the defender's £10m price tag, according to the Mirror.

New Toffees manager Roberto Martinez is a long-standing admirer of the Welsh international, having signed him from Stockport County five years ago when he was in charge of the Swans. 

The Gunners, who made an enquiry about the 28-year-old centre-back in January, are believed to be Williams' first choice should he move, but with Arsene Wenger unlikely to pay more than £8m, fresh interest from the Goodison Park club could drive up the asking price.

However, with doubts over the future of injury-prone Thomas Vermaelen's future at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger sees Williams as having the leadership qualities to be the hub of his defence, and is expected to table an official bid within the next fortnight.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who was also believed to be keen on being reunited with his former player, appears to have been put off by the Swans asking price - and will now look to other targets as he seeks to keep in line with the owner's policy of only buying young talent.

Meanwhile Napoli, whose new boss Rafael Benitez is keen to strengthen his defence, are also in the mix, and are unlikely to be short on cash after the inevitable £50m sale of Edinson Cavani to Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

Benitez was said to be hugely impressed by Williams when Swansea beat his Chelsea side over two legs in the last season's Capital One Cup semi-finals, preventing the Londoners from registering a single goal. 

The Swans went on to win the trophy with a 5-0 victory over Bradford City at Wembley, where Williams helped lift the trophy alongside club captain Gary Monk.    


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