Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Swansea City defender Ashley Williams and Metro reports Arsene Wenger has labelled the Swans' captain a priority signing. But the Gunners boss faces competition from Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the race for the 28-year-old.

Ashley Williams

Williams is expected to replace German international Per Mertesacker, who has attracted attention from Bundesliga side Vfl Wolfsburg. The former Werder Bremen defender struggled to establish himself in the Premier League and the Arsenal first team early in his career and although he is a regular now, Wenger reportedly believes he has still not adapted completely.

Wenger will have to move fast though, with the Mirror reporting Anfield bosses have green-lit a £10m approach for Brendan Rodgers' former charge. The Reds believe Williams could be an ideal replacement for 35-year-old veteran Jamie Carragher, who retires at the end of the season.

City, meanwhile, are expected to be in the market for a central defender after rumours suggest ex-Everton man Joleon Lescott is likely to leave the Etihad. In addition, Roberto Mancini has been quoted as saying the club should have signed more cover in central defensive positions. The ex-Inter boss pointed to the injury to captain Vincent Kompany and the fact Lescott, Matija Nastasic and the departing Kolo Toure are the only available options.

Finally, Chelsea are likely to want Williams as a long-term replacement for captain John Terry. However, of the clubs linked to the Swansea player, Chelsea are probably the least likely to bid, at least until the managerial position has been settled.

Oxlade-Chamberlain on Swansea Win

Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said he was pleased with his side's performance in Saturday's win at Swansea. The 19-year-old England international urged his team-mates to look forward to the rest of the season with confidence. The Gunners are locked in a race with Chelsea and Tottenham for Champions League football next season and need as many points as possible.

"The Swansea result is a good start. But we can't look back, we have to look forward at what we can achieve... it is a matter of taking it step-by-step. We have always had belief in ourselves. Obviously there have been some hard patches. We have to take that [belief] into the next game and look for three points again," the midfielder said.