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Could veteran defender be next to leave Everton?

Has Ashley Williams played his last game for the Blues?

West Bromwich Albion v Everton - Premier League Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

Ashley Williams’ erratic performances last season looked to have set the stage for his exit from Everton this summer. As the futile season lurched on, so did the veteran defender, failing to provide the stable and reliable cornerstone for the Blues’ backline.

After a deserved sending-off in a loss against Burnley that pretty much sealed seventh place and a spot in Europe for Sean Dyche’s side, Williams failed to make the matchday squad again. Phil Jagielka’s rejuvenation had a lot to do with that too.

The Guardian reported yesterday that Stoke City manager Gary Rowett is interested in bringing in a veteran presence to boost his backline, and that could be Williams. The Potters are going to attempt to make a quick return to the Premier League after relegation last season.

There is no word yet on the physical condition of the 33-year-old defender who broke two ribs and suffered from a collapsed lung from an injury sustained in a collision during a pre-World Cup friendly between Mexico and Wales. Everton players are expected to start filtering back for preseason training starting Monday, July 2nd.

The report goes on to add that new Everton manager is targeting the previously linked Jannik Vestergaard to replace Williams in the defensive rotation. The Dane is currently at the World Cup with his national side in the Round of 16, though he is yet to play a game.

Another couple of snippets from the article say that it does appear Morgan Schneiderlin will be exiting the club too, on his way to Olympique Marseille as previously reported. Also likely to be leaving the club is winger Yannick Bolasie, who hasn’t quite settled back in since his long injury layoff.