Tottenham and Aston Villa prepare for James Ward-Prowse move


Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are set to face off in pursuit of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse.

According to The Telegraph, Tottenham Hotspur have joined the race to sign James Ward-Prowse. They are set to compete with Aston Villa in the pursuit of the Southampton midfielder, who has become a prime target for both clubs heading into this final week ahead of the start of the new Premier League season.

A member of the Southampton squad since 2003, Ward-Prowse is a local star who has etched his name as one of the club’s most easily recognizable figures, so far in the 21st century. Although only 26, the midfielder has amassed 322 competitive appearances for the Saints, scoring 33 goals while also making 40 assists.

The Portsmouth native has built a solid reputation as a creative midfielder, capable of creating chances and very proficient on set pieces. As such, he remains Aston Villa’s main target, in Dean Smith’s attempt to strengthen his midfield department, following Jack Grealish’s record-breaking start to Manchester City.

Ward-Prowse isn’t replacing Grealish, but he can certainly build a formidable partnership alongside John McGinn and Douglas Luiz next season. Aston Villa, however, is preparing fallback options, with RC Lens’s Cheick Doucoure emerging as one of them.

Croatian Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren (right) tackles English Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse in the EFL Cup (English Football League) semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on January 11.  2017. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE.  No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixtures, club / league logos or “live” services.  Online match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation.  No use in betting, games or publications of any single club / league / player.  / (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP / Getty Images)

James Ward-Prowse is considered a reliable luck maker. (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP / Getty Images)

As for Tottenham, they had been interested in the Southampton midfielder even during the reign of Mauricio Pochettino, who had worked with the Englishman during their time together at St. Mary’s Stadium. And it looks like new coach Nuno Espirito Santo intends to follow through on the Argentine’s wishes by signing the 26-year-old this summer.

The Lilywhites have no shortage of options in the creative department, benefiting from the services of players like Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele. However, the club lacked a stable figure alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the central midfield, with figures like Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks disappointing many.

James Ward-Prowse could therefore be a wise investment. But there is no doubt that Southampton will be determined to keep their club captain, especially after losing the services of star striker Danny Ings, who moved to Aston Villa as part of a shock deal.

The Saints, however, are ready in case the England international leaves the club this summer. In fact, one of their main targets this summer is former academy starlet and current Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is vying for a return to St. Mary’s Stadium.

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