Aston Villa have been handed an update on their pursuit of Southampton and England midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
They claim that a recruitment source has told them that Smith’s side have now registered their interest in the midfielder and that it is very much “concrete”.
The report adds that a potential deal is still in the early stages, but Villa are planning for midfield changes this summer.
Dubbed a “machine” by his teammates at Southampton, the £27m-rated Ward-Prowse had a fine season in the Premier League, scoring eight goals and providing a further seven assists in the top-flight – that also included a brace against Villa themselves back in November when the Saints ran out 4-3 winners.
The latest update that Villa have now registered their interest in the English ace, and that the Midlands club are “planning for midfield changes” will be music to the ears of the Villa boss.
The Villa midfield is arguably the one part through the spine of the team that was found lacking last season, with Emi Martinez a stand-out in goal, Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings a formidable presence in defence (they conceded just 46 goals all season), and Ollie Watkins up top.
But in central midfield and in the number ten role, Villa were lacking, with the likes of Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Ross Barkley all well off the pace – none of them managed more than three goals each.
But with Ward-Prowse’s ability to get goals both from open play and from set-pieces, Villa could add a real game-changer to their ranks in the middle of the park.
And, given what Smith has recently said about what he wants from his new signings, Ward-Prowse fits the bill.
He said: “In terms of our recruitment, we talk about the sweet spots that we’re looking for, which is that the players have Premier League experience and are (ideally) British because there is no adaptation risk at all.”
It’s exactly why this latest update should have Smith buzzing.