Aston Villa Latest News: Dean Smith urged to land £100k p/w set piece specialist

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith deep in thought

Aston Villa would benefit from having a player like James Ward-Prowse in their side, according to the Midlands-based journalist Luke Hatfield.

Did Villa try to sign Ward-Prowse this summer?

They did indeed.

Villa made an approach for the Southampton skipper and reportedly had a bid rejected by their Premier League rivals for his services.

Ward-Prowse decided to respond to speculation regarding his future at St Mary's by signing a new long-term deal worth £100,000-a-week with the club, which runs until 2026.

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What did Hatfield say about Ward-Prowse?

Hatfield has been impressed by the development of Jacob Ramsey at the heart of Villa's midfield in the opening weeks of the season, but he still feels that Dean Smith's men could do with someone of Ward-Prowse's ilk to make them more of a threat from set-pieces.

When asked if the club need to bring in a central midfielder in the near future, Hatfield responded by saying: “Do they need someone like a Ward-Prowse? I still think they do need something. Someone who can naturally maybe cover the back four, but also offer a serious set-piece threat because Ramsey’s an all-action midfielder who’s been exciting to watch but in terms of a goal threat, is he carrying much of one? Whereas with Ward-Prowse, for example, whenever there’s a dead-ball situation, you know that he’s a real, real threat.”

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Should Villa make another play for Ward-Prowse?

Ward-Prowse may have just signed a new contract at Southampton, but that does not mean that he's completely off the market.

Every club has an asking price for a player, and if Villa match this figure, it will be hard for Southampton to turn them down again. Plus, Villa have shown this summer that they are not afraid to splash the cash, having spent almost £90m on the attacking trio of Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.

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Which of the following Aston Villa players didn't score in the club's 7-2 victory over Liverpool last season?

Ward-Prowse was directly involved in 15 goals in the top-flight last season, while Villa's best performing central midfielder in this category was John McGinn, who registered just eight goal contributions. This indicates that Smith's side could do with having Ward-Prowse in order to score and create more goals from midfield.

The 26-year-old, who has netted 10 free-kicks in his Premier League career, won't come cheaply but it may be a smart move on Villa's part to test the waters once more if they want to make a push for Europe in the coming seasons. 

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