Ashley Williams
Williams given Swansea captaincy in to damage Liverpool & Arsenal hopes of signing the defender. (Reuters)

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams has been handed the captain's armband in efforts to deter the Welshman from joining Liverpool or Arsenal this summer.

Williams has been persistently linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium but the announcement today that long serving Swans defender Gary Monk will step down as captain, passing the armband on to his central defensive partner, could play a pivotal role in the Welshman's future.

Having made just 15 appearances for Michael Laudrup's side last season, 34-year-old Monk believes it is time to pass on the responsibility, identifying Williams as the perfect candidate to step up to the role.

"It's a personal decision from myself," Monk told Swansea's official website. "The way I look at being a captain, you should consistently be on the pitch.

"Ash has been consistent on the pitch over a number of years. I've said a few times I've not played as much as I would have liked, but I've still contributed in a number of games.

"But, overall, I feel the team captain should be someone who is on there as a figure of continuity. Ash is that.

"He has won the armband when I've not played, so I felt it was the right thing to do to let him lead the team out even when I was playing.

"Obviously, if the manager says anything different, then we would listen to him. But I will remain as club captain. To have been captain of this team and club is one of my proudest achievements.

"My duties as club captain on the pitch, in the changing rooms and in the community will remain. Even when I haven't got the armband on when I'm playing, I'll still be a leader on the pitch."

The decision to hand Williams the first team captaincy could severely damage Liverpool and Arsenal's hopes of landing the Welsh international.

Brendan Rodgers has thus far added Kolo Toure to his defensive options, but further additions are expected following the retirement of Jamie Carragher and uncertainty surrounding the future of Martin Skrtel and Sebastien Coates.

Arsenal have also long been linked with the 28-year-old, who played an integral role in the club's ninth place finish in the Premier League and their Capital One Cup success. Thomas Vermaelen's worrying drop in form coupled with the Belgian's injury that will see him miss the start of the season leaves Arsene Wenger with a worrying problem at the back ahead of the new season.

But Wenger and Rodgers' reported desire to bring Williams to their respective clubs will have been complicated by today's latest development.