By Frank McAvennie

11th Jun, 2021 | 7:00am

Pundit: Aston Villa could be about to sign the next Beckham - 'He's a class act'

Frank McAvennie insists James Ward-Prowse can prove he is more than just a free-kick taker if he moves to Aston Villa. 

The former Villa striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, compared the Southampton man to David Beckham.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club have registered their interest in Ward-Prowse after completing a club-record deal for Emiliano Buendia.

Ward-Prowse, 26, scored eight goals and picked up seven assists during the recently concluded Premier League season.

The midfielder has four years left on his contract at St Mary’s after he signed a five-year deal last summer.

He was part of England’s 33-man provisional Euro 2020 squad but didn’t make the final cut.

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McAvennie compared Ward-Prowse to Beckham and claimed a move to Villa could make fans appreciate how talented he really is.

“He’s a decent player, a classy player,” McAvennie told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

“Everyone keeps talking about his free kicks. He can be like what they have in America. 

“He can be a kicker, bring him on every time there’s a set piece then take him off again. 

“I’m joking. He’s more than just a free-kick taker but everyone I speak to just talks about the free-kicks. 

“They said the same about David Beckham but he was more than that as well. 

“He could cross and play those through balls, so can the boy Ward-Prowse. Maybe he needs that move for people to realise how good he is.”

Football Insider revealed during the weekend that Buendia had his heart set on heading to Villa Park after being convinced by their “huge” ambition and plans to strengthen this summer.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the total cost of the deal including the wages spread across a five-year contract will be a mammoth £57m.

In other news, Football Insider can reveal what Jack Grealish has told friends about quitting Aston Villa.