According to reports on Monday morning, Rafael Benitez is lining up a summer bid to add Ashley Williams to his squad at Napoli.
Since earning promotion to the Premier League with Swansea City at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, the Wales international has established himself as one of the most reliable central defenders in the top-flight. Arsenal have long been credited with an interest in his signature, whilst Liverpool and Newcastle United are also admirers.
However, according to The Mirror, Williams could soon be offered the chance of a move to Italy. It is believed Benitez, the former Liverpool and Chelsea coach, was impressed with the 29-year-old during the recent UEFA Europa League tie between the Swans and his Napoli side, who advanced to the last 16 following a 3-1 aggregate win.
The Wolverhampton-born player, who has also appeared for Hednesford Town and Stockport County during his career, is in the final year of his contract at the Liberty Stadium, so could be offloaded in the summer rather than leave on a free next year. A move to Naples could also offer him the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League.
Benitez’s side were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Livorno on Sunday, but they remain in third place in Serie A with an advantage of seven points over fourth place Fiorentina. The Spanish coach would hope to land Williams for a fee of around £5million, yet would likely face competition from a number of sides in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, speaking after the stalemate at the Armando Picchi, Benitez told Sky Sport Italia: “It was a game we should have won and there are regrets. I prefer not to talk about the table, but taking it one game at a time. If we don’t win games like this, then it is unthinkable to discuss certain placements. I am disappointed with everyone.”