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No Arsenal contact over Ashley Williams say Swansea City

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 25, 2013

By Stephen Ware

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SWANSEA City insist there has been no contact with Arsenal amid reports the Gunners are close to signing Ashley Williams.

Stories in the national media suggested Williams was set to agree personal terms with the Gunners ahead of a possible £10 million transfer. They have been linked with the defender since January as has his former manager Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.

The Reds are looking for defensive cover following Jamie Carragher's retirement, but seem less likely to move for Williams after closing in on a deal to sign out-of-contract Manchester City centre-back Kolo Toure. They are also believed to be tracking Shalke's Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Tiago Ilori of Sporting Lisbon.

Williams is thought to be on Arsenal's radar after a string of impressive performances in the Premier League.

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Arsene Wenger wants a new centre-back after it emerged Thomas Vermaelen could leave the Emirates this summer. The Belgian spent the last two months of the campaign on the bench after falling behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order. And he fears his international chances will be affected if he is not playing regular football. But despite the speculation, chairman Huw Jenkins said there had been no negotiations with the Gunners over a possible deal for Williams.

The former Stockport defender revealed after last Sunday's final Premier League match against Fulham that he knew of no official interest in him and expected to start next season at Swansea.

Williams has enjoyed a strong campaign at the Liberty, but Swansea's £10 million valuation of him was thought to be putting potential suitors off.

The 28-year-old Wales captain made a couple of high-profile mistakes for club and country early on before recovering.

Often wearing the skipper's armband in Garry Monk's absence, Williams was part of a back four that shutout Arsenal at the Emirates and prevented Chelsea from scoring over two legs of a Capital One Cup semi-final.

National manager Chris Coleman made Williams his captain and has regularly stated his belief that the defender is good enough to play for one of the Premier League's top four.

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