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Will Arsene step in? Bid rejected for Gunners defensive target

Sky Sports are reporting that Swansea City have rejected a £4 million bid from Sunderland for their captain Ashley Williams.

The Welshman has long been linked with a move away from South Wales, with Liverpool, QPR and in particular Arsenal all seeing their name associated with the 30-year-old.

Williams has been at the heart of Swansea's defence for seven seasons, and played a significant part in the club's ascent up the leagues to League Cup winners and Europa League competitors. His no-nonsense defending, not to mention excellent passing ability, would see him easily slip into a side like Arsenal or Liverpool, and given his age, and the fact his contract is expiring next year, he would not be a costly option either.

Jamie Moralee, the player's agent, recently hinted that the move to Sunderland was unlikely, stating the player was happy at the Liberty Stadium but was going to attract suitors.

"It's up to Swansea to make him an offer because he doesn't want to leave, Moralee said. "Just because a club has put a bid in, that's not to say Ash wants to leave — that's far from the truth.

"There's been a lot of interest in Ash and that was always going to be the case, particularly as he only has one year left on his contract."

Arsene Wenger's side enjoy long spells with the ball, and it is important for both of their central defenders to be capable and confident passers. He has been a rumoured target for the Gunners for the last two seasons, with various sources reporting he was eager for a new challenge at a club competing in Europe. With Thomas Vermaelen said to be considering a move away in search of first team football, Arsenal may be looking for a capable deputy to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Below is a table that illustrates just how comfortable the Wales international is in possession:

  TeamPosPassing AccuracyAppsTotal PassMins
Yaya Touré Man City MF 89.82% 35 2,502 2,927
Mikel Arteta Arsenal MF 91.57% 31 2,152 2,407
Cheick Tioté Newcastle MF 86.58% 33 2,094 2,764
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 88.39% 29 2,051 2,413
Steven N'Zonzi Stoke MF 86.69% 36 2,049 3,041
Ashley Williams Swansea DF 86.42% 34 1,936 3,040

It is evident here that Williams is one of the most capable passers in the Premier League, coming sixth overall when it comes to total passes played - a statistic that shows him to make more passes than any other defender in the division.

His accuracy is also strong, coming in seventh of all the defenders in the league that have played, and passed the ball, significantly. This percentage is all the more impressive given the sheer number of passes he has played accurately.

Williams would be a more than welcome addition to any side's back line, especially those that employ a possession based game. If Swansea want him to stay, they will surely have to offer him a deal worthy of such a quality player.

Because if Arsenal were to table a bid, the player and his agent may be a little more eager to discuss a move.

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