Socceroos defender Rhys Williams appears set to make an immediate move to the English Premier League, with Swansea reported to be on the cusp of signing the Middlesbrough star.
Williams has emerged as the primary transfer target of Swansea coach Michael Laudrup, who is looking to strengthen his depleted midfield and defensive stocks during the January transfer window.
English media is reporting Williams, 25, is seen as an ideal signing due to his versatility as he is an accomplished defender and midfielder with experience of more than 100 games in the English championship. Swansea have only two fit senior midfielders with Michu, Jose Canas, Jonathan de Guzman, Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer out with injuries, forcing Laudrup to look for immediate reinforcements.
‘‘Things changed dramatically when we lost Jonathan de Guzman and Jose Canas in the space of a few days,’’ Laudrup told English media on Friday.
‘‘The injury to Canas will probably keep him out for about four weeks and, suddenly, we only had two [fit] midfield players. Then I looked into the possibility of bringing Ki [Ki Sung-Yueng] back but the loan agreement [with Sunderland] said it should have been done by the end of December, so it’s not a possibility.’’
Should Williams complete his move to Swansea this month, he will be the second Australian player to regularly play in the EPL this season alongside Mile Jedinak, who is skipper at the resurgent Crystal Palace. A move up a division for Williams will be a significant boost for the Socceroos’ World Cup hopes as coach Ange Postecoglou will then be able to call upon a defensive player with the experience of playing in one of the world’s best competitions.
It will be a timely positive for Postecoglou just days after star winger Robbie Kruse suffered a serious knee injury that will likely rule him out of the tournament. Kruse ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during a training session with German club Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday and will undergo surgery later this week.