Regardless of the truth in the rumors about an impressive shortlist being lined up at Arsenal for next season, with the chances of reaching the Champions League slowly but surely drifting away, the name of Ashley Williams of Swansea is one that often comes up in connection with the team’s failing defense.
Knowing that he isn’t the one in charge of the defensive coaching (Stephen Bouls is/was), Arsene Wenger loves blaming the defending after losses, although the entire tactical approach, which he is in charge of, seems to be a bit off the mark, to be gentle. One thing is certain – Arsenal need a lot more toughness in the squad, but will have to wait till the summer to improve in that aspect.
According to the British Press, Ashley Williams, the Welsh international, who has been one of Swansea’s most consistent performers over the last couple of seasons and is also the national’s team captain, might be one of the first players Arsenal try and sign next summer, hoping that he’ll bring with him the ingredient that’s been missing from this team for quite some time.
For Wenger, Williams has the leadership and organizational skills missing from the team at the moment with Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker “leading” the defense, which hasn’t been turning out too well, even with the omission of the mistake-prone Laurent Koscielny from the formula.
Williams isn’t followed by Arsenal alone – Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers are interested in the player who is signed until 2015 for the only Welsh team in the Premier League, and its rumored that it might take at least £8 million to secure his signing, which might be a bit expensive considering Williams will be turning 29 by the turn of the new season, and besides toughness and leadership doesn’t provide what top teams usually expect from their centre backs.