Kevin Campbell has offered his thoughts on what Aston Villa will do next in their pursuit of James Ward-Prowse.
Kevin Campbell believes that Aston Villa are preparing a new offer for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, after testing the water with an opening salvo that was rejected by the south coast outfit.
“He’s a great player. Aston Villa like to do this, don’t they?
“They tested the water with Smith-Rowe and now they are doing it with Ward-Prowse. They are putting a soft offer in to see if they can get the price before they come back with a new offer, it’s coming.
“Southampton are good at that game though, they have done well with transfers over the years.
“Villa won’t hold back, they know they have money but they want to spend it wisely.”
NSWE must splash the cash to land Ward-Prowse from Southampton this summer as he could be a sublime addition to Dean Smith’s squad. He is a proven Premier League performer at the perfect age to kick on to the next level and he could help further plug the gap left by Jack Grealish’s departure to Manchester City.
Smith needs players who can come in and provide creativity as Grealish’s exit has left a gigantic hole in that department. The former Villa captain averaged an exceptional 3.1 key passes per game in the Premier League last term, with Ollie Watkins’ 1.2 the next-highest aside from Ross Barkley – who has returned to Chelsea following his loan spell.
This suggests that the ex-Brentford coach would be delighted to add a player to his squad who has proven that he can create chances at Premier League level, which is exactly what Ward-Prowse is. The Saints ace averaged 1.6 key passes per game from central midfield last term, ending the season with seven assists and eight goals to his name in the top-flight.
He was named Southampton’s Player of the Season at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl lauding him as “outstanding”. The Austrian told the Daily Echo: “It’s not surprising for me, a player who played every minute this season is unbelievable.
“His physicality and his performances are outstanding. That’s our captain on the pitch and he is on the way that he is a very important player for this club for the long-term, I think.”
The £75k-per-week dynamo averaged an excellent WhoScored rating of 7.07 and is only 26-years-old. This shows that he already has the ability to perform consistently week-in-week-out in the Premier League, whilst still having his peak years ahead of him to improve and develop as a player – potentially with the help of Smith’s coaching.
Villa fans should hope that Campbell is right and that their club make another effort to get the England star to Villa Park.