Everton have signed the Swansea City and Wales captain Ashley Williams for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £11m, on a three-year contract with the defender saying he has joined “a great club with an unbelievable manager – a world legend in football”.
The 31-year-old has ended his eight-year association with Swansea to join Ronald Koeman’s side, who confirmed the sale of the defender John Stones to Manchester City for £47.5m earlier this week.
Williams said: “I’ve had eight great years at Swansea and, for me, the new challenge was something I felt I needed, so I’m delighted to have joined Everton. Everton is a great club with an unbelievable manager – a world legend in football – and I believe the Club is going in the right direction. This is something I wanted to be a part of.
The defender added: “I look forward to seeing what the manager’s plans are for me and the team. He’s been one of the greatest centre-halves to ever play the game, so I look forward to learning from him and seeing what he can teach me. I really can’t wait to get out there at Goodison. I’ve always enjoyed playing on the Goodison pitch, so it will be nice to be an Everton player and experience what it’s all about when I’m part of the home team.”
Williams, who had two years remaining on his contract at the Liberty Stadium, was a primary target for Koeman, and director of football, Steve Walsh, over the summer.
Koeman has been forced to rebuild his central defence with Phil Jagielka struggling for fitness after a hamstring problem during pre-season and Stones’s departure.
Williams becomes Koeman’s third signing following the arrivals of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and Idrissa Gueye from Fulham and Aston Villa respectively.
The former Stockport County defender, who signed for Swansea for £300,000 in 2008, was a target for Brendan Rodgers during his time as the Liverpool manager and Arsenal had also registered interest in the defender. Meanwhile, the Sunderland defender Lamine Koné remains a defensive target, with Koeman keen to bolster a squad which boasts only Ramiro Funes Mori, Jagielka and the youngsters Mason Holgate and Brandan Galloway as alternative options in central defence.