Swansea City have turned down Sunderland’s £4million offer for Ashley Williams and told them to return with a bigger offer.
The Black Cats have made the centre-back their priority target and tabled an opening bid for the Wales defender last week but sources in South Wales have indicated that the first offer was rebuffed by Swansea.
Indeed Sunderland have been informed that Swansea do not want to sell – but that determination will be tested because Williams only has one year left on his contract. Last week his agent Jamie Moralee warned that the Swans risked losing him for nothing if they did not either resolve his contract situation or sell him.
“Ash has only got one year left on his contract, so clubs will look at that. If a new contract is not agreed or they don’t accept one of the bids, Swansea could risk losing him for nothing,” he said.
Swansea will be reticent to deal with Sunderland in the summer but the Black Cats are working hard to try and secure a deal for a player that they view as a statement of their intent under Gustavo Poyet.
They have already signed Billy Jones from West Brom and Jordi Gomez, the Wigan midfielder, but they are looking for players who will take them to the next level.
Williams is seen as one of those, although this saga may stretch into pre-season with Swansea intent on at least fighting to keep him.
Meanwhile, former Sunderland striker Martin Smith has piled praise on Connor Wickham – who came back from a loan spell at Leeds to fire the Black Cats to safety.
He said: “Connor’s played some football in the Championship and come back sharp and slotted in nicely.
“He took that confidence from scoring twice against Manchester City into the rest of the season and you could see that in his all-round game.
“As well as getting that goals he was holding the ball up well and bringing other people into play.
“If you’re scoring goals, chances tend to drop for you in good positions and Connor made the most of that.”