Swansea look to Italy for Williams’ defensive replacement

Date published: Friday 19th August 2016 1:17

Francesco Guidolin: Looking to sign defensive lynchpin

Swansea’s search to replace former captain Ashley Williams has taken them to Serie A.

Boss Francesco Guidolin says the club has drawn up a short-list of “five, six, seven players” and that it includes defenders from his native Italy.

“We still need another centre-half,” said Guidolin, who partnered Jordi Amat and Federico Fernandez together in the opening-day 1-0 win at Burnley, but only has former Ajax defender Mike van der Hoorn as central defensive cover.

“I have spoken frequently with the chairman (Huw Jenkins), we have a short-list and we are working on it.

“We have to decide if we need to sign a defender at the level of Amat and Fede who is ready to play, or a younger player.

“This is the decision we have to take.

“There are five, six, seven players on the short-list, there are players I know better as they play in Serie A but for me it is not a problem.

“We need another player and I am optimistic.”

Guidolin feels his squad will be complete when a replacement for Williams, who earlier this month ended his eight-year Swansea stay by joining Everton for a reported £12million fee, is found.

The former Udinese boss says he will then have two players for every position and he has warned Wales’ Euro 2016 hero Neil Taylor that he cannot guarantee him a first-team place.

Taylor has made over 160 appearances for Swansea and been an almost ever-present since Ben Davies left for Tottenham two summers ago.

But the rise of Scotland full-back Stephen Kingsley has put the 27-year-old Wales defender’s place under threat.

Kingsley impressed at Burnley and will keep his place against Hull on Saturday as Taylor – who shone in France and scored his first international goal in Wales’ 3-0 victory over Russia – continues to build up his fitness following his extended post-Euro 2016 break.

“I cannot promise anything. It is not easy, but I want to be honest and clear with the players,” said Guidolin.

“I spoke to Neil explaining my idea for him in this period.

“Right now, I would prefer to play with the (outfield) players who have worked with us since the start of pre-season.

“It is different from Gylfi (Sigurdsson) as we do not have another No.10, but we do have another left-back.

“He agreed with me that we should not rush him back, it is better to use players who have 50 days of training behind them rather than players who have had only 20 days after the internationals.

“After the upcoming international break everyone will be at the same level.

“But then we have competition between a young player and an international.

“I respect Neil and his status, but this is the same for all positions in the squad.”

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