Aston Villa could complete their midfield jigsaw with the signing of Southampton star James Ward-Prowse.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Dean Smith is lining up a summer swoop for the England midfielder, and Noel Whelan has thrown his backing behind a potential move for the Saints man.
He said: “I’m not surprised he wants to move. Villa are showing real intent early on. I think the move will materialise, it’s happening. They have already got Buendia through the door so it really is exciting times for Aston Villa fans.
“If they can get James Ward-Prowse as well, another international, they could really reach that next level. He was very unlucky not to be in the England squad for the Euros. He would add serious competition for places.
“It would be a very exciting midfield if he was in there with Grealish, Buendia and McGinn. Time will tell if these signings are seen as replacements for Jack Grealish or not.”
The £35k-a-week earning ace would offer something that Villa really missed last season – goals from midfield. The Saints star managed eight goals in the Premier League, as well as chipping in with seven assists too, numbers that are far better than anything that Smith’s current options produced (John McGinn was the closest with three).
With Grealish and Buendia further ahead, Ward-Prowse would be tasked with breaking the lines with his passing deeper from midfield, and giving those two enough touches of the ball to cause havoc.
As Whelan says, it would make for a “very exciting midfield” if the trio started for Villa next season in the Premier League, with Grealish and Buendia offering real creativity, and Ward-Prowse coming in from deep and providing a supply line of both goals and assists too.
It’s a move that could see Johan Lange complete the midfield jigsaw for Villa.