Williams makes Toffees switch

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has moved quickly to replace John Stones as the club confirmed the signing of Swansea captain Ashley Williams for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.

The Toffees sold Stones to Manchester City on Tuesday in a deal that could rise to £50 million and they wasted no time in filling the void in central defence after announcing the capture of experienced Wales international Williams the following day.

The 31-year-old centre-back, who skippered the Welsh national team to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last month in their debut at the tournament, leaves the Swans after eight seasons of sterling service having helped them gain promotion from League One to the Premier League.

Williams felt he needed a fresh challenge in his career and couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with iconic Dutchman Koeman, after putting pen to paper on a three-year contract at Goodison Park.

"I've had eight great years at Swansea and, for me, the new challenge was something I felt I needed, so I'm delighted to have joined Everton," the Welsh defender told his new club's official website.

"Everton is a great club with an unbelievable manager – a world legend in football – and I believe the club is going in the right direction. This is something I wanted to be a part of.

"I'm excited about meeting my new team-mates, staff and focusing on the season ahead. Personal thanks to Ronald Koeman, Steve Walsh, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and my representatives at New Era Global Sports for making this fantastic opportunity possible.

"Obviously, Swansea was very memorable for me and I would like to thank every single fan, my former and current team-mates and all of the Swansea family for their unconditional support and friendship. I wish everyone at Swansea all the best for the future and they will always hold a special place in my heart."

Koeman added: "We wanted to bring in a strong player in the central defence position, a player who knows the Premier League and Ashley fits the bill for us very well.

"He is an experienced defender and the kind of player we need in the team. He is a leader. He showed this at Swansea and he has shown it for his country and he is looking forward to his new challenge here at Everton."

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