Luke Hatfield has offered a prediction regarding Aston Villa’s interest in Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.
Express & Star reporter Luke Hatfield has predicted that Aston Villa may return with another swoop for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse if Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have a difficult season.
“It could be one they revisit if Southampton struggle this season or if they were to go down after losing some key players.
“He’s obviously a fantastic player and Villa were very keen on him but things didn’t pan out.”
This prediction from Hatfield will surely cause Southampton fans to begin to worry. New contracts do little to stop transfers from happening, beyond preventing a player from leaving on a free transfer, which means that Ward-Prowse’s decision to extend his deal does not completely rule out a transfer next summer. It simply means that Villa may need to pay more money to get a move over the line.
The Saints fans will be worried by this as the £75k-per-week beast is a pivotal player for the club and his exit, at any price, would be a blow.
At the end of last season, Saints head coach Hasenhuttl highlighted the Englishman’s importance. 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.”
Ward-Prowse has not missed a single Premier League match for the Saints since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, starting all 80 matches. He averaged WhoScored ratings of 7.15 and 7.07 in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons respectively, showing that he has been able to provide consistent quality in recent years.
This is why fans will be concerned by the prospect of Villa coming back in for Ward-Prowse, as his exit would be a huge loss for Hasenhuttl. He would not only be losing the captain of the club, but also a player who has the ability to put in excellent performances whilst also avoiding injuries and suspensions.