Aston Villa transfer rumours: Villans could follow Buendia transfer with another major signing

Southampton captain and Aston Villa target James Ward-Prowse celebrating

Aston Villa are ready to make an approach for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, as revealed by The Guardian.

What's the latest transfer news on Ward-Prowse?

It is understood that Villa want to strengthen their options in midfield in the upcoming transfer window, and they appear to have set their sights on signing Ward-Prowse.

With the window opening on Wednesday, Dean Smith seems to be identifying targets early on as Villa aim to build on their 11th-placed finish in 2020/21.

What were Ward-Prowse's stats this season?

The 26-year-old played every minute of the Premier League season, and was a standout performer for the Saints.

He registered 15 goal contributions in the top-flight (via WhoScored) - only Danny Ings (16) was involved in more goals for Ralph Hasenhuttl's men.

Ward-Prowse's passing ability was on display for all to see throughout the campaign. He made more passes (2434) and completed more key passes (60) than any of his teammates. This number of key passes was only bettered by Jack Grealish (81) for Villa.

The Southampton man's performances led to him being called up to England's provisional 33-man squad for this month's European Championships, although he did ultimately miss out on making the final final cut when Gareth Southgate named his final list of 26 players.

Are Villa lining up any other big signings this summer?

They certainly are.

It has been confirmed that Villa have agreed to pay a club-record transfer fee in excess of £30m to sign Norwich's Emiliano Buendia.

The Villans have also recently been linked with Arsenal playmaker Emile Smith Rowe, signalling that they plan to make a statement this summer by adding some high-profile players to their ranks.

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Could Ward-Prowse's arrival increase Grealish's importance at Villa?

Grealish has enjoyed a stunning season, leading by example to help Villa to a mid-table finish. As per WhoScored, he registered 10 assists and completed 65 dribbles in the Premier League in 2020/21. It is hard to imagine that he could become any more influential than he already is at Villa Park.

However, if Ward-Prowse were to join Villa, Grealish could actually be an even more important figure for Smith's side next term.

The 25-year-old won 110 fouls in the Premier League this year, making him the most fouled player in England's top division. His ability to tempt defenders into mistimed tackles could be crucial for Villa's gameplan next year given Ward-Prowse's reputation as a set-piece specialist.

Ward-Prowse scored four direct free-kicks for Southampton this season, and is famed for his consistent delivery into the box from dead-ball situations.

Grealish winning free-kicks could give Ward-Prowse more opportunities to score and create chances from free-kicks for Villa, and with Buendia on his way to the Midlands as well, things are looking very positive for the club right now looking ahead to next season.

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