Aston Villa are reportedly considering a second bid for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, after their initial £25 million offer was rebuffed.

According to The Athletic, Aston Villa are ready to step up their pursuit of James Ward-Prowse. They have recently had a £25 million knocked by Southampton, who have no intention to offload their prized asset, especially after tying him down to a new contract.

But instead of considering other options, Villa are expected to come up with a second bid in an attempt to test the waters at St. Mary’s. It remains unknown how much the Saints truly value the 26-year-old, but the Villans’ desire to splash the cash this summer could see this transfer saga take an interesting turn.

There is no doubt that Dean Smith is on the hunt for a new midfielder, despite having signed Emiliano Buendia from the jaws of Arsenal earlier in the summer. It is perhaps fair to say that the club is preparing for a future without star player Jack Grealish, forcing Smith to consider multiple options in the final third.

The English international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City. The newly crowned Premier League champions are even weighing up a £100 million offer that will shatter the league’s record. At the same time, it will significantly boost Aston Villa’s transfer kitty, allowing them to land some of the most talked-about players in the market.

Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (R) tackles Southampton's English midfielder James Ward-Prowse during the EFL (English Football League) Cup semi-final first-leg football 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, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

James Ward-Prowse is a certified workhorse. (Photo credit should read Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

The Villans have reportedly agreed personal terms with Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey. But in Ward-Prowse, they will find themselves a versatile and creative midfielder, who can prove to be a more pragmatic replacement for Grealish.

Indeed, the Southampton captain has gained quite a reputation in the Premier League due to his chance creation, particularly from set-pieces. The 26-year-old brings a vast amount of experience to the table as well, having featured in 322 competitive matches for the Saints. It makes him an appealing target for Smith’s camp, as he can truly add some much-needed flexibility to the table.

However, it also means Aston Villa may have to spend a fortune to secure the services of the 26-year-old. While an offer of £25 million was certainly not an unreasonable one, James Ward-Prowse is more than likely to cost in excess of £35 million, which should see him shatter the club’s record fee of £33 million that was paid to sign Buendia earlier this summer.

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