By Wayne Veysey

21st Jun, 2021 | 7:00am

Sources: Ward-Prowse stance on quitting Southampton for Aston Villa revealed

James Ward-Prowse is interested in quitting Southampton for Aston Villa this summer, Football Insider has learned.

The Saints central midfielder is a top target for Dean Smith’s big-spending side as they continue their recruitment drive.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that the indications the club have had is Ward-Prowse believes a move to Villa would be an upgrade on Southampton.

A deal is still some way off but the 26-year-old has been alerted to Villa’s interest as well as the ambitious plans of billionaire owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris.

They are backing Smith to the hilt for a third consecutive summer as they look to build on the club-record capture of Emiliano Buendia and the re-signing of Ashley Young.

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

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

The club are seemingly well staffed in that position with Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Marvelous Nakamba and January signing Morgan Sanson.

But there are doubts over Luiz’s future and Smith is not convinced £16million former Marseille man Sanson is up to the mark.

Villa’s plan is to sign Ward-Prowse to time for him to be at the club for the start of pre-season.

It will take a huge fee to lure the set-piece specialist from Southampton, where he has four years left to run on the contract he signed in August 2020.

The eight-times England international was outstanding for the Saints 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 chiefs fear they have made a big mistake over marquee signing.