Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams is on Manchester United's radar. REUTERS

Manchester United are believed to be chasing the signature of Swansea City captain Ashley Williams, according to reports, with the defender high on Sir Alex Ferguson's wish list of potential new recruits to develop an ageing back-four.

United are currently 12 points clear at the top of the table and having netted 64 goals this season, with Robin van Persie in toe, are the leading scorers in the Premier League

However, the same can't be said for their much changed defence which has suffered from injury to the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, and a spell of form which saw United concede the first goal in 15 of their first 23 games.

While the recent return of Vidic and Ferdinand has led to more consistency at the back, the Daily Mirror and The People are both suggesting that Ferguson is still considering a shock move for Williams, who lifted the Capital One Cup with Swansea after they thrashed Bradford at Wembley on Sunday.

Ferguson has a colourful history with Williams, having claimed earlier this season that the 28 year old could have killed Robin van Persie after kicking the ball at the Dutchman's head during the 1-1 draw between the two sides in December.

But with Ferdinand out of contract in the summer, local media are claiming that the Scot is willing to put aside his past differences with Williams in order to retain the element of experience in his defence.

While the January transfer window was typically quiet for Ferguson, bar the signing of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, this summer will no doubt be spent continuing to bolster a squad hoping to warn off the challenge of Manchester City once again.

Ferguson outmuscled City advisory Roberto Mancini in the summer of 2012; clinching a deal for Van Persie, who won last season's PFA Players Player of the Year award and the Premier League golden boot.

There would no doubt be questions over Williams' ability to make the step up to one of England's top clubs in his late 20s, but should Ferguson be looking for an established player who has proven himself in the Premier League, he need look no further than the Wales skipper.