Aston Villa set to make a second offer for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse

Aston Villa are preparing a second offer for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse after seeing a £25million bid rejected last week.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

James Ward-Prowse, 26, starred for Southampton last season, scoring eight goals and supplying as many assists in 38 Premier League appearances. The midfielder was unlucky to miss out on the final 26-man England squad for Euro 2020 after making the provisional selection.

The Saints are understood to be very much reluctant to sell their skipper, who recently signed a new contract, to a direct rival as they consider him their most valuable asset. However, Aston Villa will make another concerted effort to sign Ward-Prowse in the coming days as Dean Smith prepares for life after Jack Grealish, who looks set to join Manchester City in a staggering £100million deal.

The Villans have been very busy in the summer transfer window. The Midlands club have captured Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City for a club-record £33m, whilst adding former player Ashley Young on a free transfer from Inter Milan. They are also closing in on winger Leon Bailey having agreed on a £30million deal with Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen.

Jack Grealish would leave a huge void in the Aston Villa squad

A product of the Aston Villa academy, Jack Grealish, 25, has evolved into one of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking players in the last couple of years. After a strong season with the Villans, he starred for England in the European Championships earlier this summer.

The English winger has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, with manager Pep Guardiola being a long-term admirer of him. A move to the Etihad Stadium would see City smash the British record for a transfer fee, eclipsing the £89m Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba back in 2016.

As Jack Grealish’s departure would leave a huge void behind in the Villa squad, Dean Smith and co. are actively looking to strengthen different areas of the pitch ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

Aston Villa need more quality and depth in the midfield department

Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey are excellent additions to a Villa squad that will aim to challenge for a place in the top half of the table next season. Ashley Young’s volumes of experience and leadership skills would also come in handy. However, the Villans still lack a bit of quality and depth in the central midfield department.

Douglas Luiz and John McGinn formed a strong partnership in Villa’s engine room last season. Marvelous Nakamba didn’t feature as much as he would have liked to, while January signing Morgan Sanson barely made an impact for the Midlands club.

Young Jacob Ramsey enjoyed his breakthrough campaign, making 23 appearances across all formats. Even after Buendia’s arrival, Aston Villa certainly needs more squad depth in midfield.

James Ward-Prowse would fit the bill perfectly at Villa Park

Having made his Southampton debut back in 2011, James Ward-Prowse has played over 320 competitive games and brings volumes of Premier League experience to the table. It makes him an enticing target for Villa, as he can certainly add some much-needed know-how and flexibility to Smith’s side.

Over the last few years, the England international has gained quite a reputation in the English top-flight for his set-pieces and dead-ball accuracy. At 26, Ward-Prowse appears to be a player in the right age bracket who could possibly solve a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch for the Lions.

In addition, the Southampton captain has played every single minute of the last two Premier League seasons, which is a testament to his stamina, endurance and fitness levels. All in all, Ward-Prowse to Aston Villa makes perfect sense for a number of reasons.

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