Premier League defender opens talks over new contract - despite Arsenal interest

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams is set to open talks over a new deal at the Liberty Stadium - despite rumoured interest from Arsenal.

Williams, 29, has been a star performer for Swansea ever since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2011, with the Welsh international capping off a meteoric rise from non-league Hednesford Town to the Swans, via Stockport County in 2008.

His consistently impressive performances for Swansea have seen him attracted interest from bigger Premier League clubs, and recently it was reported that Arsenal were eyeing up a cut-price summer move for the defender. The speculation suggested that Williams was looking to leave the Liberty Stadium in order to move to a bigger club, and with just one year left to run on his contract, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was allegedly looking to make a £3m swoop.

Yet not only would Swansea reportedly want three times that amount for their star centre back, but manager Garry Monk confirmed today that he has opened negotiations over a new contract - which would serve as a blow to Wenger in his pursuit to land Williams.

"We're in negotiations with his representatives and trying to put a deal across so that Ash will be here for the future of the club," Monk said. "I know Ash wants that, I want that, the club wants that and that's what we're working towards as we speak."

If Williams does choose to stay in South Wales then Wenger will have to look towards other targets, but this is by no means the end of the world for Arsenal. Williams is fast approaching 30, and whilst adding depth behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal defence has to be a priority, they shouldn't be held to ransom over a defender who won't have many more years left at the top of his game.

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