By Wayne Veysey
Ashley Williams has agreed terms to join Arsenal from Swansea City this summer.
Arsene Wenger has prioritised signing the central defender and is hopeful that an offer between £8 million and £10m can close the deal after reaching a basic agreement with the player.
|ARSENAL'S PRIORITY TARGET
|WILLIAMS' 2012-13 SEASON
AVERAGE CLEARANCES PER GAME
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
It is understood that Arsenal have agreed a three-year contract with Williams' camp that is worth £60,000-a-week.
Preliminary negotiations have taken place between Arsenal and Swansea on a fee for the Wales captain, with the Londoners confident of completing the signing in the next two weeks.
Arsenal stepped up their interest in Williams in April and moved in to pole position to capture him ahead of Liverpool after holding two rounds of talks with the player’s representatives.
The 28-year-old’s desire to move to an elite club had not been dependent upon the guarantee of Champions League football, which Arsene Wenger’s team secured on the final day of the season.
The Gunners are poised to start the bidding at around the £8m mark and, although Swansea are likely to hold out for a fee closer to £12m, it is not expected that the final cost will be much beyond £10m.
Wenger is a big admirer of Williams, who he believes has the calibre and battle-hardened Premier League experience to beef up a defence that had been found wanting at times last season.