Everton have reportedly re-ignited their interest in Swansea skipper, Ashley Williams, as John Stones heads towards the exit door. The 31-year old, who has two years left on his contract will reportedly cost around £10m, a figure which Everton are ready to pay up.
The John Stones saga which has been going on throughout the summer is expected to come to a conclusion in the following weeks as the start of the season is coming ever closer. It is a matter of who blinks first as Everton value Stones at £50m while City are not prepared to go over £40m. While this intense battle of eye-contact goes on between the two clubs, Everton have to set things in order.
Koeman, who has been credited for the progress Southampton have achieved, despite regularly losing their star players to other teams has raised hopes at the Goodison Park where they expect him to resurrect their dwindling fortunes. The Dutchman has inherited a talented squad who have not been playing to their full potential lately and will have been tasked with making Everton a club which fights for the Top 6 every year. And he has to contend with a similar scenario over here as he looks to recover from the potential setback of losing his star defender.
Ashley Williams played for non-league Hednesford Town after being released from West Bromwich Albion, before turning professional at Stockport County in 2003, later becoming their captain. In March 2008, he was loaned to Swansea City, and after helping them win League One, signed for a club record £400,000. He has totalled over 300 games for the Swans, aiding them in their promotion to the Premier League and their victory in the 2013 Football League Cup Final.
He has been absolutely immense for the Welsh outfit and has made over 300 appearances for the club. His passing ability stands out despite his robust approach. He is a master at intercepting passes and is always ready to put his body on the line. He had impressive statistics of 318 clearances, 98 interceptions and 43 blocks last season. His dependability is showcased by the fact he missed only 2 league matches over the entire course of last campaign. The Wales captain has been a regular fixture for the national team and has made over 50 appearances for them.
While he has previously been linked with various clubs, his performances at the Euros where led his country to the semis has brought him back into the limelight. Everton desperately need reinforcements at the back having suffered the ignominy of having the 6th worst defensive record in the league last season. With potentially Jagielka and Funes Mori as the only recognized defensive options, the Merseyside club will do well to secure the signature of this reliable and experienced leader at the back.