Southampton REJECT Aston Villa’s opening £25m bid for James Ward-Prowse as Dean Smith looks to strengthen amid uncertain future of captain Jack Grealish
- Aston Villa are pressing ahead with their interest in James Ward-Prowse
- The Southampton midfielder played every game last season and impressed
- Villa tabled an opening bid of £25m for the Saints skipper, but it was rejected
- They will likely go in again, aiming to strengthen amid Jack Grealish interest
Aston Villa have had a £25m bid for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse rejected.
Villa have firmed up their interest in England central midfielder Ward-Prowse but seen their opening offer rebuffed.
Southampton are determined to hold onto Ward-Prowse who last year signed a new five-year deal tying him to the St Mary’s club until 2025.
Aston Villa are keen on bringing James Ward-Prowse in, having their first £25m bid rejected
The midfielder was so strong last season that he was pushing to be in the England Euros squad
Though Villa have money to spend and are weighing up an improved offer to test Southampton’s resolve a second time.
For the second season running, Ward-Prowse played every single minute of the Premier League season for Southampton and scored nine times and set up eight more goals in his most productive season.
He has made over 300 appearances for Southampton since coming through their youth system and established himself as the poster boy for their famed academy.
Villa are battling to retain their own skipper Jack Grealish, subject of a £100m move from Manchester City.
Villa are on high alert with Manchester City making a huge push to sign captain Jack Grealish
Ward-Prowse is still preparing for the season with the Saints desperate to keep hold of him
At the same time, they are continuing efforts to improve their squad.
They have added Emi Buendia, for £33m from Norwich, and Ashley Young on a free so far this summer.
And, amid the interest in Grealish, they are targeting Norwich’s Todd Cantwell and Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey along with Ward-Prowse.
In a further sign of their ambition this window, Villa also made two bids for Arsenal starlet Emile Smith Rowe, which were both knocked back before he signed a new five-year deal to remain at The Emirates.