Ashley Williams and Romelu Lukaku
Swansea City's Ashley Williams and Everton's Romelu Lukaku vie for the ball during their Premier League game. Reuters

Arsenal are keeping a keen eye on Swansea defender Ashley Williams and are lining up a move in the summer, according to the Metro.

The Gunners are in the market for a defender to replace Thomas Vermaelen, who has been linked with a move out of the club after failing to make an impression this season in the league. The defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker has taken precedence over the Belgian, who is desperate for more game time.

Manchester United are among the many clubs interested in signing the defender whose contract ends at the end of the next season. The defender is currently in the first team deputising for Koscielny, who is out for a few weeks with a calf injury.

Vermaelen put in a good performance against Manchester City where he was a rock in defence, winning all the aerial duels against the likes of Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure.

However, if Arsene Wenger is unable to give him any assurances over his future, the player is likely to leave after the World Cup, with the Gunners falling back on their long term defensive target Williams. Arsenal were strongly linked with the player last summer but a move failed to materialise.

The north London club are back in for the player after analysing Vermaelen's situation and are willing to bring the 28-year-old to north London to slot into their back four.

The Welshman has previously expressed his desire to play in the Champions League and is likely to move to north London to fulfil his ambition to feature in Europe's most prestigious club competition.

"I am completely happy at Swansea but I would like to listen to the Champions League music once in my life," he told The Times in an interview last November.

"If we can go to the next step, that would be the dream come true. We're probably seen as a little bit more established, the big teams probably see us as little old Swansea.

"Most of us have not played in Europe before and we are prolonging it as long as we can," he concluded.