Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Swansea City centre half Ashely Williams, according to SkySports

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of the Welshman and now looks to secure his signature.

Williams made some very impressive displays for the Swans last season, captaining his side to victory in the Capital One Cup and a top half finish.

His rock solid performances has drawn interest from a host of English top clubs but it seems Arsenal have stolen a march on their rivals. 

The initial £10million asking price had deterred any interest from the north London club but due to departures and injuries, Wenger may be back in for the 28-year-old.

Arsenal's club captain Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out of their pre-season Asia tour. 

The Belgian had been in indifferent form last campaign as his disappointing displays caused him to be dropped and has since been linked with a move away from the Emirates. 

However, following the exits of Sebastian Squillaci and Johan Djourou, the club have only got two additional recognised central defenders in Per Mertasacker and Laurent Koscielny. 

Wenger is thought to be keen to keep hold of Vermaelen as he hopes his skipper can regain his form.

However this has not deterred the Frenchman from looking to add a fourth centre-back to provide competition and cover.

Wenger thinks Williams fits the bill as he is the epitome of the modern day defender; quick, strong and composed on the ball. 

Michael Laudrup’s Swansea played a superb brand of football last season and earned praise from all corners of the game and Arsenal’s similar approach to the game would certainly suit the former Stockport County man.  


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