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Ashley Williams 5

Everton sealed the signing of Ashley Williams from Swansea City in a deal reportedly worth £9m on 10th August 2016, just three days before the start of the 2016-17 season.

Likely one of Ronald Koeman's planned central-defensive additions regardless of whether John Stones was sold in the same transfer window, the Welsh international defender's arrival nevertheless came the day after Stones's departure to Manchester City.

Three weeks shy of his 32nd birthday, Williams brought a wealth of Premier League experience to Goodison Park having played 319 times for Swansea since making a loan move from Stockport County to the Liberty Stadium permanent in 2008.

Swansea had picked the Wolverhampton-born player up for just £400,000 and he would go on to cement himself as a club legend in South Wales, playing in 97% of their league fixtures and earning the nickname "Mr Indestructible" along the way.

In the more immediate seasons before he made the switch to Goodison, he had established a reputation as being one of the most effective players in his position in England's top flight.

A one-time target for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, he shone for his country at the 2016 European Championships as Wales surprised the Continent by making it all the way to the semi-finals where they were bested by eventual winners Portugal.

Williams skippered Wales in all six of their games and scored one of the goals in the quarter final against Belgium that knocked the Red Devils out, eventually paving the way for former Blues boss Roberto Martinez to replace Marc Wilmots as that nation's head coach.

"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 and it's something wanted to be part of," Williams told evertontv on the day of his unveiling.

"I can't wait to get out there [at Goodison]. I've always enjoyed playing on that pitch and it'll be nice to get out there to see what it's all about as the home team.

"I've scored there and I don't score many goals. It's always a noisy place where the fans get behind the team. It's a difficult place to play as an away player."

"[The fans can expect] an honest player, hard-working, I try to do as well as I can for the fans and the club. Not always perfect but always with the best of intentions and to try and leave everything out on the pitch."

What they got was at times was less convincing, although the stats showed a vastly improved defensive structure, especially at home, where Everton  had become simply awful under Martinez. He hardly impressed the more critical Everton fan, with none of the driving inspiration he had showed for Wales, while Swansea without him became the worst defence in the Premier League and came very close to being relegated.

FactFile

Squad number 5
Position Central defence
Nationality Welsh
Born Wolverhampton
Date of birth 23 August 1984
Height 6' 0"
Joined 10 August 2016
Joined from Swansea City
Signed by Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee £9m
Contract duration 3 years
Contract expires June 2019
Debut (Sub) v West Brom (A)
20 August 2016
Full debut v Yeovil Town (H)
23 August 2016
Previous Clubs Hednesford Town
Stockport County
Swansea City
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2016-17
5
35 (1)
1
3 (0)
0
38 (1)
1
  Totals 35 (1) 1 3 (0) 0 38 (1) 1


Previous Career

Season Team Appearances Goals
2008-2016

Swansea City

352 14
2003-2008

Stockport County

176 4
2001-2003

Hednesford Town

60 0


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