Stoke sign Ashley Williams on season-long loan from Everton
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 02/08/18 10:18pm
Stoke have completed the signing of Everton defender Ashley Williams on a season-long loan.
The Wales captain has made 60 appearances for Everton since joining them from Swansea two years ago.
He will link up with former Swansea team-mate Joe Allen who helped persuade him to move to the Potteries.
"Joe is one of my best friends, we speak most days and the fact that he's a Stoke player was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here," Williams told the club's website.
"We've spoken a lot over the last couple of days and he's told me all about the club and how it works and what I can expect.
"Joe's decision to sign a new contract earlier this summer was obviously a big thing for the club and it showed how serious Stoke are about getting back into the Premier League.
"To keep a player like Joe Allen, who in my opinion is one of the best midfielders in the country, is a sign that the club is looking to go back in the right direction and that was a big factor in me joining Stoke."
Williams will train with his new team-mates on Friday as Gary Rowett's men step up their preparations for Sunday's Championship opener against Leeds at Elland Road, live on Sky Sports.
"It wasn't a hard decision for me to join Stoke, what with the squad that's already in place here, the quality of the manager and the ambition of the Club. It was easy for me, " he added.
"I became aware of Stoke's interest a couple of days ago and straight away I was sold on it and wanted to come. Fortunately it has happened quite quickly and I'm now really looking forward to getting started."
Rowett added: "We have two very good senior central defenders in Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi but I felt it was important we brought in another experienced player to add to the competition for places.
"Having spoken to Ashley he feels like he has a point to prove and has a real hunger. He knows many of our players, knows what we're all about as a club and will fit straight in to our culture."
Williams is Stoke's sixth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Benik Afobe, Peter Etebo, James McClean, Tom Ince and Adam Federici.