By Wayne Veysey

Aston Villa are ready to offer a contract to newly-available defender Ashley Williams, Football Insider understands.

The newly-promoted club have registered their interest in signing the veteran centre-back, who was released by Everton today ahead of the expiry of his deal on 30 June.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club face competition for the signature of Williams as they prepare to offer him a deal that would be less money than he was earning at Goodison Park and would be structured around appearances.

Williams, 34, is weighing up his future and whether to remain in English football or continue his career overseas amid interest from MLS clubs.

He remains a key player for Wales and is set to add to his 85 caps during the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Croatia on Saturday and in Hungary three days later.

Williams spent the recent domestic season on loan at Stoke City, where he was a regular with 27 league starts among 37 appearances in all competitions.

He has a wealth of club and international experience at Everton, Swansea City, Stockport County and Stoke, and this is attractive to Villa, who ae in the market for at least two centre-backs this summer.

Speaking earlier this week, Williams said: “It’s the first time I have got to the end of a contract in a long time. It’s not something I’m worried about – I am just excited to see what comes up.

“My agent says we have got good options abroad and here.”

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider can reveal that the club are set to be hit by a transfer hammer blow as defender target set to join rivals by end of the week.