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Ashley Williams close to Everton exit

Wales defender set to drop down to the Championship

Bury v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

Ashley Williams may have played his final game for Everton amid reports he could be ready to move to Stoke on loan.

Potters boss Gary Rowett is keen to add a defender to his squad and the Mail reports that Williams is among his targets.

Negotiations are currently underway with the Championship side ready to pay a portion of Williams’ £65,000 a week wages.

The former Swansea defender is keen on a move to Stoke given it’s location. Wales teammate Joe Allen also currently plays at the Bet365 Stadium.

Williams’ stock amongst Evertonians has fallen dramatically over the past year after an erratic second season on Merseyside. The Wales captain became symbolic of Everton’s struggles as his skills dramatically began to wane.

The 33-year-old’s lack of pace became a serious issue as he dropped far too deep to try and compensate, causing chaos in the Everton penalty area.

He also wasn’t too far from controversy, with his barge of Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes causing a scrap that resulted in an Everton fan punching a player during a Europa League tie in November.

His final appearance of the season also saw him deservedly sent off in a defeat at Burnley in March. He never made the matchday squad again.

As a result Everton are ready to let him play out the final year of his contract at another club and save on at least a portion of his hefty wages at Goodison Park.