Southampton are “expecting” a second bid from Aston Villa for their captain James Ward-Prowse after rejecting an initial £25m bid.
This information comes from the Athletic, who also state that Saints would be very reluctant to sell their captain. Hampshire Live go further than this and explain that the 26-year-old is not for sale.
Saints have much of this situation in their favour. They acted quickly last summer and secured the England international to a new five-year deal and, given his long-term ties to the club having joined aged eight, he is unlikely to cause a problem from his side.
Aston Villa made progress last season but still finished in the bottom half of the Premier League. Perhaps a bid from one of the leading teams in the division would test the resolve of Ward-Prowse and Saints.
Southampton need to keep their heart and soul
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- A lament for Southampton legend James Ward-Prowse
These days, it is clear to see that James Ward-Prowse represents everything that Saints want in their first-team.
First of all, he is one of the best talents to emerge from their academy and has become a leading first-team player. Having taken the captaincy too, he shows the ultimate levels that a young talent training at Staplewood can hope to reach.
There is a stark difference in his game since Ralph Hasenhuttl’s arrival. He once struggled to nail down a place in the starting line-up and looked unsure about what his strongest position was.
Now though he is heavily involved in everything in attack and defence whilst also providing crucial contributions with his set-piece deliveries.
It is obvious that other clubs will be tracking his progress, and Aston Villa are said to be close to securing an extra £100m of transfer funds with the sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City.
One thing is for sure though: Saints cannot lose their star man this summer if they want to be making progress of their own alongside their top-flight rivals.