Aston Villa are certainly going places under Dean Smith, finishing in 11th place in the recently-concluded 2020/21 Premier League season, which is quite an improvement over the 2019/20 season, where they were anxiously huddled around their phones on the last day to see if they had managed to avoid relegation. Villa’s progress can also be seen from the fact that they have three players at the Euros – Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish with England, and John McGinn with Scotland. What’s more, two more players are playing at the 2021 Copa America as well, for Brazil and Argentina, no less, in Douglas Luiz and Emiliano Martinez. The Midlands club have already put out a signal of intent by signing Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City, incidentally also a player who was recently called up by Argentina, although he did not make it to the Copa squad, and there could be further movement in the transfer window in the coming days and weeks.

Villa are reportedly after Southampton captain and set-piece specialist James Ward-Prowse, with the club ready to pay big money to secure the England international. Several top rated US online casinos rate this as a move that is quite likely to go through, and Ward-Prowse’s arrival would certainly provide a big upgrade to the Villa midfield, even with Luiz in the squad. Hailed as a “machine“, Ward-Prowse enjoyed a superb campaign with the Saints last season, scoring eight goals and providing a further seven assists in the top-flight. According to former England defender Carlton Palmer, who spoke to Football FanCast, “Villa are going for it. They’ve just managed to sign Buendia. Villa are a big, big club, and have a top manager in Dean Smith. So, from Southampton to Aston Villa, I think that’s a good move. And with Grealish there, I don’t expect Grealish to be going anywhere.

“He’s getting a very good squad of players there, and they could be challenging top six or top seven next season, so that would be a good move for him.”

Rated at £60m by CIES, Ward-Prowse comfortably betters Luiz in a lot of the key midfield metrics, not least when it comes to goals and assists – the Brazilian managed no goals and just two assists in the top-flight. As per Whoscored, the Saints man also appears to be better defensively than Luiz, averaging far more tackles and more clearances while also making fewer fouls and being dribbled past fewer times per game too. It is no surprise then that several of the biggest and best canadian real money casinos are already rating this move as one that Villa are likely to go for, given how much improvement he will bring to the team. Those stats point to Ward-Prowse being the kind of tigerish midfielder who can help out when pressing and who can put his foot in, but one who is not reckless by committing needless fouls or simply being ran past too easily. And then, when you add in his attacking contributions, the England international shines considerably more than Villa’s current midfielder.

Additionally, in Grealish, Villa already have a player who wins quite a lot of fouls in dangerous areas – the Villa captain was the most-fouled player in the league last season, and adding a player like Ward-Prowse who is deadly from set-pieces would increase their attacking threat by a huge margin.

Johan Lange, the Villa sporting director, could sign a real upgrade on Luiz in Southampton’s Ward-Prowse this summer, if he can get a deal done.