Arsenal have held talks with representatives of Swansea City defender Ashley Williams ahead of a potential summer move, according to Goal.com.
The Wales captain has been linked with a move to the Emirates for some time, but the Guardian reported last week that Liverpool were favorites for his signature due to Williams’s previous relationship with manager Brendan Rodgers and the fact that he supported the Merseysiders as a boy.
It would appear, though, that Arsenal are intent on getting their man, with the Daily Mail claiming that they have now moved ahead of Liverpool in the race to sign the 28-year-old.
Williams is considered to be available for around £12 million; a price that Liverpool’s owners may balk at paying for a player of Williams’s age.
For Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, Williams’ leadership skills are likely to be a strong appeal. Current captain Thomas Vermaelen has been left out of the side in recent weeks after an unconvincing season.
Williams does not appear to be the only defender under consideration. Anderlecht’s Cheikhou Kouyate has again discussed interest in him from the Gunners. The 23-year-old Senegal international is valued at £5 million, according to the Daily Mirror.
Paris-Saint Germain are also said to be monitoring the player, but Kouyate is keen on a move to the Emirates.
"I am happy here but if Arsenal called me to go to London I would have no doubt about going,” he said, reports the Mirror.
"I hear they have asked for some information on me from the last few months."
Arsenal also look set to strengthen the other side of their lineup, with support required for Olivier Giroud in attack.
Wenger discussed his admiration for Napoli’s Edinson Cavani in January, but conceded that a deal would not be feasible in that transfer window. If Arsenal want to make a real statement of their intent, however, then the signing of the prolific Uruguayan could do just that this summer.
Napoli are sure to be reluctant sellers. The side currently second in Serie A inserted a €63 million (£54m) release clause into Cavani’s contract back in August after claiming that they rejected a huge bid for the 26-year-old.
Yet, Cavani has hinted that he would consider a transfer.
“I’m fine in Naples, but in football there are lots of things to consider,” he said, according to Metro.
“I can only say that I will give my all in this shirt until the last day I wear it.”
Arsenal could also make a splash if they following up their rumored interest in young Milan star Steawyphan El Shaarawy.
The 20-year-old forward was a sensation in the first half of the season, but his goal-scoring has diminished since the January arrival of Mario Balotelli. After being left out of the starting lineup against Napoli at the weekend, TalkSport, citing stories in Italy, reports that El Shaarawy is unhappy with his situation at the club.
Both Arsenal and Manchester City are said to be monitoring the Italy international’s predicament with interest.