By Wayne Veysey

9th Sep, 2021 | 7:00am

Sources: Aston Villa 'pushed hard' to sign Ward-Prowse as Southampton bid revealed

Aston Villa came close to sign James Ward-Prowse before he signed a new Southampton contract, Football Insider understands.

This site revealed on 6th August that the Midlands giants had a £25million bid rejected for the Saints captain during the last window.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club “pushed hard” to land Ward-Prowse and extensive talks were held over a potential deal.

Southampton initially placed a £40million valuation on their academy product but would have accepted an initial lower fee.

It is believed that the England international was open to moving to Villa and was keen to accelerate talks at one point.

There was also interest in Ward-Prowse from a top-six Premier League side.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

His representatives were able to use the bids and high-level interest in their client to negotiate an improved contract last month.

Southampton announced on 19th August that Ward-Prowse had signed a new five-year contract running until 2026.

Club chiefs had already sold Danny Ings to Villa by that point and were loathe to cash in on the club’s other prize asset.

Ward-Prowse, 26, is a talismanic figure at St Mary’s Stadium, where his association with the club stretches back to the age of eight.

He had his best season for the Saints in 2020-21, scoring eight goals and supplying eight assists in Premier League matches.

He has started all four of the club’s league and cup matches this term, scoring once and providing two assists.

In other news, Aston Villa hijacked Tottenham to seal a seven-figure signing.