Talisman’s ‘upgrade’ revelation leaves Southampton at the mercy of Villa

Danny Ings celebrating with James Ward-Prowse, Southampton, February 2021

Aston Villa have been handed a significant boost in their pursuit of a Southampton ace after a report indicated he believes the switch would be an ‘upgrade.’

Villa are overseeing what already appears to be an impressive transfer window as they look to build on a superb season. Dean Smith’s side produced an upset when landing Norwich playmaker Emiliano Buendia from under Arsenal’s nose. That was then backed up with the smart free agent signing of Ashley Young. The versatile ex-Inter full-back will arrive in July and bring a wealth of experience and know-how.

Smith is quietly putting together a superb all-around squad with few weaknesses. However, prior reports revealed their summer work is far from over.

Southampton midfield James Ward-Prowse emerged as a target earlier this month. The 26-year-old is known for his dead ball abilities, and drew lofty praise from Pep Guardiola last season.

Ward-Prowse’s set pieces, combined with Jack Grealish’s propensity to win fouls was touted as a potentially lethal blend Smith could unleash.

The Guardian reported Villa were prepping an approach, though Southampton quickly put up a ‘not for sale’ sign.

However, Southampton’s arm could yet be twisted after Football Insider revealed the club’s damning impression they’re getting from the player.

They report that Ward-Prowse is ‘interested in quitting Southampton for Aston Villa’ this summer. Furthermore, the impression the Saints have is that he believes such a move would be an ‘upgrade.’

Ward-Prowse’s contract runs until 2025 – a factor that will aid Southampton’s cause in resisting interest. There is no indication that Ward-Prowse will personally push for a move. Though the revelation has planted a seed of doubt.

Liverpool line up surprise Villa ambush

Meanwhile, Liverpool are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice with an Aston Villa raid that has drawn similarities to a previous transfer success story.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s exit has left Jurgen Klopp mulling whether to bring in a direct replacement. Several names have been linked, including a Bundesliga star tipped to have been their No. 1 target.

Progress on that front recently hit a brick wall, and per the Daily Record, a new candidate has been lined up.

Citing the Sunday Post, they reveal that Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn is now a transfer target.

A remarkably generous sum has been touted for the Villa man that has similarities with the deal that brought Andy Robertson to Anfield.