Southampton have reportedly rejected a £25m bid from Aston Villa for James Ward-Prowse, with Dean Smith clearly keen on adding the Saints captain to his squad this summer.

What’s the word?

Villa were linked with a move for the 26-year-old earlier in the transfer window and it seems as if they are keen to revisit that interest ahead of the new season, with a £100m windfall expected should Jack Grealish complete his move to Manchester City.

However, Hampshire Live journalist Tom Leach has provided a promising update on the England international’s future at Southampton, tweeting: “I am told that that reports regarding a £25million bid from #AVFC for James Ward-Prowse are CORRECT. It has been rejected by #SaintsFC who remain adamant that the 26-y/o, who last summer signed a long-term deal until 2025, is NOT for sale.”

Are you happy with Leach’s update on JWP?

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Will Southampton sell Ward-Prowse?

Southampton are in a strong position regarding Ward-Prowse, and unless Villa submit a ridiculous bid for the 26-year-old, it is difficult to see him leaving St Mary’s this year.

The Saints academy graduate is contracted until 2025 and is currently valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, so the £25m bid submitted by Villa was somewhat insulting, and it is no surprise that Southampton turned it down.

Ward-Prowse has arguably become the Saints’ most important player in recent years, emphasised by his impressive feat of playing every minute in consecutive Premier League campaigns, as well as his excellent performances last season.

The 26-year-old was ranked as the top performer in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad by WhoScored, with his eight goals and seven assists in the Premier League helping him to average an excellent 7.07 rating across the campaign.

Chris Sutton was quick to sing his praises early last season, saying: “[He’s] such an important player for Southampton. His technique from free-kicks has been so good for a long time. How he can generate the pace to get it up and down over the wall is incredible.

“He’s a really good footballer, isn’t he, a versatile footballer, Gareth Southgate rates him highly. He’s been in the [England] squad now for a while.

“For Southampton, he’s a player now who I think all the players there look to.”

Therefore, it would be a huge blow to Southampton’s chances of enjoying a positive 2021/22 campaign if he were allowed to leave this summer, and Saints fans will no doubt be delighted with Leach’s update on the influential midfielder.

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