By Noel Whelan

26th Jun, 2021 | 5:00pm

Liverpool tipped to rival Aston Villa for Ward-Prowse as record-breaking bid readied - Whelan

Liverpool could rival Aston Villa in the race to sign James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Reds may target the Saints’ 26-year-old as an alternative to Villa’s John McGinn.

As revealed by Football Insider on Friday (June 25th), Villa are prepared to launch a club-record bid for Ward-Prowse if Jack Grealish leaves the club.

Meanwhile, the Athletic (June 23rd) report Liverpool are interested in McGinn as a potential replacement for the departed Georginio Wijnaldum.

However, it is said the Reds are unlikely to be able to meet the Villans’ £45million-plus demands.

As such, Whelan suggested Jurgen Klopp could instead rival Villa in the hunt to sign Ward-Prowse.

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Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “We do know that Aston Villa have brought in a lot of midfield players. They’re still looking to bring in more.

“We did wonder where they’re all going to fit in if they go for Ward-Prowse.

“Then again, Liverpool might fancy Ward-Prowse. He’s that kind of midfield player as well, especially when it comes to set-pieces as well.

“You’ve got to look at delivery, you’ve got to look at everything.

“He’s tenacious in midfield, he’s got that energy about him and is a player that would could probably suit Liverpool as well.”

Aston Villa currently have McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Marvelos Nakamba, Morgan Sanson and Jacob Ramsey as central midfield options.

They are also set to welcome Conor Hourihane back after his loan spell at Swansea City.

In other news, Aston Villa have been tipped to sign free agent after senior star exit confirmed.