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Aston Villa transfer news: Villa after James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse, Southampton
(Image credit: PA Images)

Aston Villa are reportedly preparing up a bid for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse.

Villa have just completed the signing of attacking midfielder Emi Buendia from Norwich for a club record £30 million, which could rise to as much as £40 million with add-ons, and it appears that they are looking to strengthen further in midfield.

According to the Guardian, Dean Smith is keen to get transfer business done as soon as possible as he looks to build on his side’s strong 2020/21 campaign, which saw Villa finish 11th in the Premier League. 

A move for Ward-Prowse wouldn’t be delayed by the Euros, with the 26-year-old having narrowly missed the final cut for Gareth Southgate’s England squad. That said, Mail Online report that Southampton have made it clear their skipper is not for sale.

Although he won't be going to the finals, Ward-Prowse impressed for the Three Lions Sunday’s final warm-up game – a 1-0 win over Romania settled by a Marcus Rashford penalty – showing why he is regarded as one of the best set-piece takers in the world right now.

Should Jack Grealish – the most fouled player in the top four divisions – remain at Villa Park next season, Ward-Prowse could enjoy even more opportunities to make a difference with his certifiably wicked dead ball delivery.

Ward-Prowse, who has made over 300 appearances for Southampton after rising through their youth ranks, scored four goals directly from free-kicks in 2020/21 – including two in the Saints’ 4-3 win at Villa Park in November – putting him just one off the single-season Premier League record, currently jointly held by David Beckham (of course) and former Newcastle favourite Laurent Robert.

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