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Swansea star on Napoli’s wishlist after impressing in Europa tie

| 03.03.2014

The recent meeting between Napoli and Swansea in the Europa League has thrown up a strange potential transfer target for the Serie A side.

Rafael Benitez was so impressed with Swansea skipper Ashley Williams during the two-legged clash that he’s instructed the Napoli higher-ups to try and broker a deal for the Welshman.

It was Napoli who went through in that tie, winning 3-1 on aggregate, and they face Porto in the round of 16 priced up at 17/2 to win the competition outright.

Williams has just a year left on his contract at Swansea and has attracted interest from a host of top-end Premier League clubs in the past, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

However, it is the curious interest from Napoli that is the latest, and surely most intriguing for the 29-year-old.

Napoli are in need of centre-back recruitment. First-choice pair Federico Fernandez and Raul Albiol have started 17 and 23 of the club’s 26 league games respectively this season and Benitez only has Uruguayan Miguel Britos at his disposal as a backup.

The stats show that Williams would be a handy addition to the Gli Azzurri fold, with his 8.1 successful clearances a game dwarfing the numbers of any of the three players Benitez currently has at his disposal.

Williams also isn’t trounced in the interception and tackles per game stakes, making 2 and 1.2 respectively compared to identical 2 and 1.6 recorded by both Fernandez and Albiol.

Having been at Swansea since 2008, making 239 appearances for the club in the process, Williams is likely to be sweet on a change of scenery, especially moving to a club expected to challenge at the top of end of its division.

This isn’t the first time that Benitez has tried to add some Premier League brawn to the spine of his Napoli side, having been linked to this Sunderland enforcer during the January window.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.