By Wayne Veysey

2nd Jul, 2021 | 6:58am

Sources: Major update on Aston Villa bid to sign Ward-Prowse from Southampton

Aston Villa have been given encouragement over a potential deal to sign James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, Football Insider has learned.

The Saints central midfielder is a leading target for Dean Smith’s big-spending side as they continue their squad strengthening.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Villa are very much keen on Ward-Prowse and are readying a bid once other parts of their summer transfer jigsaw fall in place.

Tellingly, the Midlands giants have been given third-party indications that Ward-Prowse is keen on a move to Villa.

He is believed to have been struck by the club’s ambition and regards them as an upgrade on Southampton.

The Saints are very much aware of Villa’s interest and that a potentially vast offer could be sanctioned by billionaire owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris.

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The duo have already given the green light for the club-record capture of Emiliano Buendia and the re-signing of Ashley Young.

Two offers have been tabled for Arsenal playmaker Emile Smith Rowe and talks have been told over the re-signing of Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.

Villa also want a central midfielder who has extensive Premier League experience and can slot straight into their team.

Smith wants a proven performer to compete with Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Marvelous Nakamba and January signing Morgan Sanson.

Ward-Prowse will not come cheap as he has four years left to run on the Saints contract he signed in August 2020.

The eight-times England international was outstanding for the club he has spent his entire career in 2020-21.

He started all 38 of their Premier League matches, scoring eight goals and providing seven assists from central midfield.

In other news, Aston Villa have been tipped to sign “amazing” player after huge offer is submitted.