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Welsh Defender Can't Help Napoli, Isn't Coming Anyways

Ashley Williams has been repeatedly linked with Napoli in the last week, which doesn't make sense on a number of levels.

Stu Forster

Some transfer window rumors are exciting. Some are interesting. Some are just weird. Then there's the ones that only serve to annoy you.

Ashley Williams is of the latter category. A central defender currently playing for Swansea City in the English Premier League, the Welsh international is being linked with a whole host of transfer rumors for the second season in a row, and this time around is being connected with a move to Napoli. Reports even indicate that he'd be willing to run out his contract with Swansea if a move isn't arranged, which would leave him able to leave on a free in a year.

It's easy to see why Williams would be thinking of leaving Swansea. He's been with the side that Napoli dumped from the Europa League for six years, helping see them from League One all the way to winning England's League Cup as a Premier League team and helping guide the club in to European competition. Now with just a year left on his contract and his 30th birthday beckoning, wanting a new challenge and a new experience is pretty understandable.

The problem with these rumors, though, is that there's no reason for Napoli to be connected to him. Sure, they need at least one central defender this summer, but they have Kalidou Koulibaly all but signed. Even if they were interested in another defender, why Williams? Why would Napoli want an overrated, slow-footed defender who has no continental experience and is frankly more of a pain in the ass than he's worth? He's like Davide Astori, except he doesn't speak Italian.

The cause for the link really is mystifying on the surface. Rafa never coached him, so that usual cause for a lazy link is out the window. If he'd played well against Napoli in their Europa tie that might be something, but in actuality he was fairly poor.

It takes sitting down and thinking about transfer rumor mechanics for it to become clear. With "several" Premier League Clubs interested and Swansea rebuffing all comers, Williams' agent needed a little something extra to spice up the sauce. Enter the Interested Big Bad Foreign Club, one with Champions League football on offer, a club he can tell prospective clubs are "very interested" in his client and that it would "take something special" to say no to once their offer sheet arrives, which "should be any time now."

In other words, Napoli are being used as leverage. There's no real interest, it's just a puppet show to get Williams a faster transfer deal and bigger contract. While it's certainly nice to be "big" enough for the club to get used like that, it also takes me back to that word I first used to describe this rumor: annoying.