Aston Villa are set to follow up their anticipated capture of Emi Buendia with a move for a midfielder held in the highest regard by Pep Guardiola.
Villa surprised many by beating out Arsenal in the race to sign Norwich playmaker Buendia. The two clubs offered similar amounts, but the Argentine is on the verge of calling Villa Park home in a move that will break the clubs transfer record.
Hot on the heels of that breakthrough, Dean Smith’s side have reportedly wasted little time in lining up their next move.
The 26-year-old has become an increasingly influential figure at his boyhood club over the years. Last season, Ward-Prowse played every minute of all 38 league matches. His continued development has put him among the favourites to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold and earn a spot in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
Ward-Prowse has begun to pull the strings for his club side, but his most eye-catching trait remains his deadly set-pieces.
So good is Ward-Prowse from the dead ball in fact, that Man City boss Guardiola waxed lyrical following a December clash at St. Mary’s.
“They have the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life in [James] Ward-Prowse,” said the Spaniard.
Villa would maximise Ward-Prowse’s potential
Should Villa succeed in acquiring Ward-Prowse, a lethal combination with Jack Grealish could be formed.
Grealish was the most fouled player in the Premier League last year for the second straight season. That was despite the tricky playmaker missing 12 matches through injury.
The Guardian note this potentially irresistible combination. Furthermore, they reveal that Smith has his eyes on fewer transfers than fans may have expected.
Smith is said to be content with making just a handful of signings, but ‘wants the few recruits that do arrive to make big impacts.’
Given Ward-Prowse’s skillset and continued development, we suspect he would do just that alongside Grealish.