Arsenal face rejection from long-term defender target

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Football News

Arsenal are set for an early blow ahead of their summer transfer efforts as Ashley Williams is ready for contract talks at Swansea City, according to Wales Online.

The centre-back has established himself as a top Premier League competitor as captain for the Welsh side and has been the focus of interest from the Gunners who looked to tie up a deal last summer.

Williams, who cost the Swans less than £1 million, has fueled speculation in the past by stating his Champions League desires.

Arsenal, along with Rafael Benitez's Italian club Napoli, have once again been linked with the strong defender who is valued at around £10 million.

However the 29-year-old appears to have had a change of heart after Gary Monk's side steered clear of relegation and Arsene Wenger's men capitulated once more in the title race. 

He has one year left on his contract at the Liberty Stadium and now the two parties are set for talks to extend his six-year stay.

“I haven’t spoken to the chairman about it but I’ve never had a dispute with him over a contract. At some point will sit down and talk," the Welshman revealed.

“The whole club has been focused on staying in the Premier League, so I didn’t want to open negotiations. I think he knows that and he has the same attitude. But now we’re safe, we’ll finish the season strongly and then we can talk.”

Williams captained his club to League Cup glory last term in only their second season back in the top flight, but he revealed the transfer speculation that ensued last summer wasn't always pleasing.

“I’d like to think I’ve learned from it,” he continued.

“It’s been the most draining season I’ve ever had. I’ve had to dig really deep at times.

“It’s all good when you have a season like last year when everyone is praising you, but when people are trying to knock you down left, right and centre, knock your team and the way you lead them and everything is under scrutiny, you start looking at yourself a little bit more.”

Swansea had their first taste of European football this season in the Europa League and claimed a famous win in their opening encounter against Spanish giants Valencia.

However they have failed to replicate their form from the first two seasons in the top flight which led to the dismissal of Michael Laudrup, they only secured safety last week.

Arsenal, by contrast, were looking strong for the Premier League title back at Christmas, although now they are looking to secure fourth-place.

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