Aston Villa have reportedly ended their interest in Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, which can only be good news for Ralph Hasenhuttl and the Saints faithful.
Villa were heavily linked with a move for the England international earlier in the summer, although Southampton were always likely to be in a strong position when it came to potentially selling him, as his contract at St Mary’s is set to expire in 2025.
It is likely that the Villa owners were priced out of a move for the 26-year-old, who is currently valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, and Birmingham Live journalist Ashley Preece has now confirmed that any potential deal for the midfielder is off.
There was undoubtedly some concern amongst Southampton fans that they could lose Ward-Prowse this summer, especially with Villa keen to splash the cash after already signing Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City for £33m, but it seems as if they can rest easy now with the knowledge that he won’t be switching St Mary’s for Villa Park.
Considering Ward-Prowse has remarkably played every minute of each of Southampton’s last two Premier League campaigns, it would not be an overstatement to suggest that he is the most important player in Hasenhuttl’s side.
Last season saw him register the best goal and assist numbers of his career, as he contributed an impressive eight goals and seven assists from midfield, earning a solid 7.07 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
This was enough to rank him as the top performer at Southampton last season, so it would undoubtedly have been a devastating blow to lose him, as he is clearly a hugely influential player both on and off the pitch.
Although he would end up missing out on England’s squad for the European Championships, manager Gareth Southgate was full of praise for him earlier this year, saying:
“To see him go from being a young player under Mauricio [Pochettino] to a great captain under Ralph [Hasenhuttl], it’s fantastic.”
Therefore, the Austrian manager will surely be relieved that Villa have ended their interest in Ward-Prowse, and he will be hoping that he remains at St Mary’s for the foreseeable future.
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