Of All The Southampton Transfer Rumours, There Is One To Worry About !
Wednesday, 9th Jun 2021 09:02
This is what I refer to as the silly season, the first month of the transfer window, when shed loads of players are linked with Saints and indeed all clubs, but most are just agent talk and media rumours made up to drive page hits, but there is one Saints rumour that I am very concerned actually has foundation.
Usually I pay little heed to the rumours in the media during May & June, few deals actually take place as players will not move until they have collected their loyalty bonus from their current soon to be former club.
That leads to a phoney transfer window where most of the rumours flying around have little substance, usually placed in the public domain by agents keen to stir up business for July when cash firmly deposited in bank accounts, the real business can begin.
However that is not to say they are all false and the real rumour that worries me this summer is the one about James Ward Prowse to Aston Villa !
Why you may ask, well the frightening reality is that I have heard this one from some very good sources and I heard it a month ago before the season just gone had actually ended.
For obvious reasons I can't say too much about who told me, suffice to say it was not someone from Southampton Football Club, but I could trace the path of the rumour down the line and it worried me that this actually had substance.
At the time I said nothing, I thought that in a deal of this size there would not be leaks of this nature, but sure enough what I had been told soon came into the public domain.
So why is this worrying ? Well the truth is that Aston Villa seem to be looking to kick on next season, they have already confirmed an agreement to sign Emi Buendia from Norwich City for around £35 million and it doesn't look like that it will end there.
But the big question is whether in these times of financial trouble that Villa may have to sell to buy and if they are after James Ward Prowse then they may have to sell Jack Grealish to do so.
Indeed Grealish could be the key as to whether this move will actually have any legs, if Grealish was to stay at Villa, then it would be an attractive move for Ward Prowse, especially after his England snub, with Gareth Southgate's Villa connections and bias towards Villa players such as Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins, the latter a player with a worse goals per game ration than Danny Ings but still in the squad for the Euros ahead of our man, JWP might see this as a pathway into the England squad.
As I say if Grealish stays then Villa could be a real power in the premier League next season and with a good shot at 7th place.
But if Grealish needs to be sold to buy James Ward Prowse then that changes the picture, that means Villa don't have the money to push on a level, they could just as easily drop back down the League as how quickly they moved up it from a year ago when they survived on the last day.
But the Premier League is still pretty much a closed shop in the top 6, West Ham have got in this season but will they be able to repeat that next year, likewise Villa, their fans see last season as a real success, but truth is that it was 11th place, the same as we finished the season before, we ended up only 4 places behind and we also had the FA Cup semi final, I would still rather have had our season than theirs.
Ward Prowse has given us good service , he has been in the first team squad now for 9 seasons, he has played in 269 Premier League games for the club and he may feel that approaching 27 now is the time for a move.
He will perhaps feel that he owes Saints nothing, certainly he will look back only a couple of years ago when he was not exactly appreciated by some of the supporter base and perhaps consider that another who got a hard time was Matt Targett and how he after leaving the club has flourished at Villa Park.
Football is a fickle game, before Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived at St Mary's there were few Saints fans who thought JWP had a future at the club.
So this transfer rumour worries me, not just because of the sources it is coming from, but because it could be an attractive move, not just from the footballing perspective, but financially for the player.
But my hope is that if James Ward Prowse has ambition he will see that Aston Villa is a step up, but ultimately it is not the step up he craves, European football is far from guaranteed at Villa Park , from this perspective he was nearer glory with Saints last season than he would have been at Villa Park.
I wouldn't exactly call a move to Villa a step sideways, but it is hardly one forward either, a shuffle at best.
Photo: Action Images
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