Southampton have no plans to sell captain James Ward-Prowse and the midfielder wants to stay at the club.
That is according to the Athletic’s Dan Sheldon, who explained in a tweet that the 26-year-old remains Saints’ “most important player” and is central to plans going forward before detailing the frank views of an inside source on the matter.
Strong rumours had linked Ward-Prowse with a £30m move to Villa with Dean Smith’s side potentially banking £100m from the sale of Jack Grealish this summer.
However, it seems Saints want to make progress of their own in the upcoming season and will be building plans around their academy graduate and set-piece specialist.
Southampton will not sell to a club they are competing with
Saints will be wanting to keep hold of their key players this summer. They will be planning for the future with James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings at the centre of things.
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- A lament for Southampton legend James Ward-Prowse
They have struggled in the past when a top-six side comes in with a significant offer and the chance to play Champions League football, but there is surely no chance that they would entertain a sale to a club like Villa.
There are, of course, some distinct differences between Saints and some of their competitors. Villa have a bigger fanbase and more financial power, but it is the job of Saints to build teams capable of competing with Villa, Leeds and Everton on a yearly basis with the hope of a place in Europe opening up momentarily. This was detailed by Martin Semmens in May’s Fans’ Forum.
Breaking into a group of teams alongside the biggest teams in the country is hard and offers from them are often too good to turn down for a player and then a club as a result. For that reason, here is no way that Saints will be giving away some ground to others around them.
The biggest thing for Saints is that they have everything in this situation in their favour. Ward-Prowse is contracted until 2025, seemingly wants to stay and his value could even grow far beyond what it is now in the next two or three years.