The remarkable string of Aston Villa transfer successes could soon end after a Premier League rival stiffened their resolve over a midfield target, per a report.
The summer transfer window has been a veritable roller coaster ride for Dean Smith’s side thus far. Argentine playmaker Emilinao Buendia was snapped up seemingly from under Arsenal’s nose in mid-June.
That was followed by beating off interest from Watford to secure the canny return of veteran presence, Ashley Young.
Rumours of Jack Grealish’s exit then began to swirl during Euro 2020. The Aston Villa talisman became linked with Man City in a deal that would ultimately go on to break a British transfer record.
Villa have reportedly receieved £100m from that sale, and their business in recent days suggested they knew Grealish’s exit was a formality well in advance.
Leon Bailey and Danny Ings were both acquired on Wednesday for a combined initial £55m. Villa have been widely praised for landing the duo who will slot straight into their first eleven next season.
However, per the Athletic, it appeared a midfield target was also on the agenda. Southampton reportedly rejected a £25m bid they deemed ‘derisory’ for captain James Ward-Prowse last week.
The set-piece specialist has developed into a superb all-around performer in recent seasons and has an exemplary fitness record. Ward-Prowse has played every minute of each of the previous two Premier League campaigns for the Saints.
Whether Villa plan to go back in for the 26-year-old remains to be seen, But with Grealish’s move now completed, they certainly have the financial capability to up their offer.
But according to Football Insider, no amount the bid will be enough to twist Southampton’s arm.
The publication state that after losing Danny Ings they now have ‘no intention’ of cashing in this summer. That point is hammered home, with the article adding Southampton will ‘knock back all offers’ they receive.
Grealish bares soul in open letter
Meanwhile, Grealish says that Aston Villa are in “great hands” after he sealed a mammoth transfer to Manchester City.
In an open letter to Villa fans on Twitter, Grealish said it felt “impossible” to put his feelings at leaving Villa Park into words.
He said that, aside from his achievements, facing relegation from the Premier League gave him a “greater sense of purpose”.
Grealish added: “Every time I put on the Villa shirt I played with my heart on my sleeve. Being given the armband was both a privilege and an honour for me and my family and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
He made 213 outings for Villa, scoring 32 goals and assisting 43 others.