Ashley Williams:Quality Signing?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on August 10, 2016
On the 10th of August Everton confirmed the signing of Welsh defender Ashley Williams from Swansea for £12m. This comes a day after John Stones signed for Manchester City for £47m and Paul Pogba signed for Manchester United for a world record fee of around £89m. However, I think that the deal sending Ashley Williams to Merseyside is a signing that is on par with the signing of Pogba and Stones in terms of what the player will bring to the club. I will be discussing why I think this signing is so good for Everton in this article.
Positives of the Signing
Ashley Williams is seen as a leader, having captained Swansea and Wales in their impressive European Championship campaign in the summer of 2016 in France. Ashely Williams has been captain of the Welsh side since the beginning of the 2013/14 season since previous club captain Gary Monk became the manager of the side. In October 2012 Chris Coleman appointed the 31 year old as captain of the Welsh national team, he was preferred to the inexperienced Aaron Ramsay who was captain at the time. He led Wales into an impressive European Championship 2016 qualifying campaign, Wales only conceded 4 goals in this campaign, the 3rd lowest of any team. He also led Wales through a record breaking European Championship campaign in which Wales reached the semi-final. Williams scored one of the most important goals in Welsh football history when he scored the equaliser in Wales’ quarter-final against Belguim, in which Wales went on to win 3-1.
With Everton’s shaky defence last season, the toffees need stability at the back and this must be achieved with a player who will bring the back line together and add discipline to the defence. With Phil Jagielka’s best days behind him it looks as if Everton need a new central defender who can lead the team and Ashley Williams looks a fantastic replacement.
Ashley Williams is seen by many Premier League fans as a very good player. Since his Premier League 5 season stint with Swansea City he has never received a lower average rating than 7.00, the rating peaked in the 2013/14 season with Williams reaching 7.23 in 34 appearances, he replicated this in the 2015/16 season however he played slightly more games in 37 league appearances. Ashley Williams is known as a ‘no nonsense’ defender as he makes on average 9 clearances per game, this will be refreshing for Everton fans as Ramiro Funes Mori is often prone to make mistakes and fans will be hoping Williams attitude rubs off on the Argentine. Ashley Williams is also a tall player as he is 6ft, he is also rather fast for his age and is useful at corners both offensively and defensively.
The signing of Ashley Williams has come at a relatively small fee in today’s inflated market. Yesterday Sky Sports confirmed that Everton and Swansea respectively had agreed a fee of £12m after a fee of £10m had been rejected earlier in the week. The fee is questionable but in today’s market relatively cheap considering John Stones had just departed Everton for £47m to join Manchester City. In comparison to a similar player and his transfer fee, Dejan Lovren who moved from Southampton to Liverpool for £20m in 2014 has proved that the fee for Ashely Williams is not extremely expensive as in this moment of time, Ashley Williams is a better and more defensively solid player than the Croatian Dejan Lovren.
The age of Ashley Williams makes the transfer fee seem ridiculous to some football fans. As Williams is 31 years old, this is not a signing for the future. In my opinion, if I was to spend a round £12m on a replacement for John Stones, I would like him to be in a similar age bracket. However a lot of the money that Everton received from Stones is still not spent and may get spent on a younger defender as Everton are still in the market for a defender.
Negatives of the Signing
In my opinion, only one negative in the deal really stands out. Ashley Williams is 31 years of age so the signing is not one for the long term. Ronald Koeman will most likely have one or two seasons of Ashley Williams being a Premier League quality defender as the defender is currently at the peak of his career and eventually he will start to lose his physical qualities such as pace and stamina. As Ashley Williams looks to be the replacement of John Stones it looks obscure that Williams is significantly older, however it suggests that Everton may sign another defender with names such as Sunderland’s Lamine Kone and Jose Fonte of Southampton all being linked to Goodison Park.
Other Quality Signings
Although I rate Everton’s new signing vey highly, some other transfers have caught my eye. These are signings I think have a similar impact that Ashley Williams had on Everton, to clear this up I am not saying that Ashley Williams is better than any of these players however the transfers can be compared.
Yesterday, Manchester City announced the signing of John Stones from Everton for £47.5m with the fee possibly rising to £50m. I think this is a great signing despite the value. It’s been made clear that the price of young English talents is highly inflated due to the fact that English teams in the Champions League need homegrown players. Manchester City also need a ball playing defender and at the moment John Stones is one of the best ones in the league. Also due to the fact that Vincent Kompany has seemingly everlasting injuries and Elequim Mangala looks to be departing the Etihad, Manchester City were light of another first team central defender. Although the price is of course ridiculous, every transfer fee is nowadays and I think that John Stones has a big future and massive potential so maybe John Stones will generate a profit. The signings of Stones and Williams are comparable as Manchester City needed Stones as a ball playing defender and an Englishman, Williams was also needed at Everton to strengthen the team’s back line.
Last month, Manchester United confirmed a new signing in the form of the Armenian National team Captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mkhitaryan signed from German side Borussia Dortumund after 3 years at the Signal Iduna Park. This is a signing that Manchester United needed as currently a right sided attacking midfielder to play in a 4231 formation is needed due to the lack of quality in Jesse Lingard. Mkhitaryan only managed 28 league appearances last season but managed an impressive 11 goals and 15 assists. The new Borussia Dortmund side was taking shape under Thomas Tuchel since Jurgen Klopp’s departure to Liverpool, the signings of Andre Schurrle, Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor spelled out that Mkhitaryan was not part of Tuchel’s plans at Borussia Dortmund so the move was right for Mkhitaryan. This also meant that Jose Mourinho was able to pick up Mkhitaryan on a relatively low fee for a play of his quality in £26.3m. Despite the difference in position between Mkhitaryan and Williams, the signings are comparable as Mkhitaryan was signed because Manchester United needed him and Ashely Williams was also needed for Everton.
This signing really means a lot to Everton, as Everton have consistently been known as a team with an awful defence yet a very promising attack. With this signing nothing will stop Everton in challenging for a very respectable team and may have just turned a mid table side into a side which will be in and around the top 8.