Aston Villa fans have been handed an exciting update on their pursuit of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Dean Smith’s side are lining up a swoop for the Saints star, having already confirmed an early window deal for Norwich’s Emi Buendia.
Then, in an article for The Athletic, David Ornstein appeared to pour cold water over such a move, saying: “The Athletic understands Southampton would be incredibly reluctant to sell their captain to a direct rival and they realise he is their most highly-valued asset. He has just signed a new contract with them.”
But now, The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath has revealed that both Villa, and fellow Premier League side Spurs, are still after Ward-Prowse and are now preparing to make a move for him after the season gets underway.
While Ward-Prowse may not be the typical holding midfielder that Gregg Evans has said Villa want, he’s certainly got the quality to be a superb deep-lying play-maker for the Midlands club were he to join this summer.
Last season saw him net eight goals and provide another seven assists in the Premier League alone, which would have ranked him in the top three for both categories for Villa.
And, after speculation first emerged over Villa’s interest in the Saints midfielder, Noel Whelan backed a summer move for him.
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.”
Reports have suggested that Smith has made Ward-Prowse a leading midfield target of his, so news that the club haven’t been put off by Southampton’s rumoured stance, and are ready to go in again, will have him absolutely buzzing.