Arsenal have reportedly opened talks with Swansea City defender Ashley Williams for a transfer at the end of the season. Arsene Wenger is rumoured to have made the Welshman his top priority for the summer but will face stiff competition from Liverpool for the player's signature.
Goal.com reveals the player's representatives met up with Arsenal last week, as the Gunners look to seal a deal for the defender before the end of the season. Williams, who has been in impressive form this season, played a pivotal role in helping his team lift the Capital One Cup; a feat which attracted interest from several of Premier League clubs. The centre-back is expected to come in as a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who has fallen out of favour with Arsene Wenger and has been linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer.
Liverpool were reported to be favourites to sign the player, given the influence of former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, who has earmarked Williams as replacement for the retiring Jamie Carragher. However, Williams' decision could depend on Arsenal's ability to qualify for the Champions League next season; something which will tip the scales in their favour. Arsenal have also identified Olympique Marseille centre-back Nicolas N'Koulou as a possible replacement, if a move for Williams fails to materialise.
Sagna on Everton Game
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna believes a win against Everton will put the Toffees out of contention for a place in the Champions League, leaving the Gunners with only Tottenham and Chelsea to worry about for their last five games. Arsenal are currently third in the table, with 59 points, four ahead of Everton and one ahead of Spurs and Chelsea respectively.
"We have to start well, we have to keep playing as we are at the moment, to keep looking forward and play the Arsenal way. It will be a massive step forward [if we win] because we would play our last games with more confidence and in a good position. We know we have to win. We know we can put them away if we win against them and give ourselves a bit more breathing room," he told Arsenal's official website.