Derisory Bid Shows Why Aston Villa Are Not the Club For James Ward Prowse
Wednesday, 4th Aug 2021 09:52
Aston Villa are said to have tabled a £25 million bid for James Ward Prowse, an offer quite rightly turned down out of hand by Southampton, but perhaps this has shown why the Midland's side offer little more than the Saints captain can achieve at St Mary's.
A little over a year ago Aston Villa stayed in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth, hanging on by thread with a single point separating them and Bournemouth who went down.
Indeed it could be said Villa's safety was sealed on the first game back after the return last June when a Sheffield united attempt was clearly over the line but exposed a goal line technology blind spot, take that point away and they would have been down and Grealish gone.
Their answer to the survival was to spend big, they forked out around £80 million in the close season and then another £14 million in January, but their spending still could not force them into a top 10 spot.
So far this window they have spent big again, paying £33 million for Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City a player that most football supporters would have struggled to name ahead of the news of his transfer.
This should suggest that if Villa are willing to pay £33 million for a player who has played just 36 Premier League games, his only top flight experience as he approaches his 25th birthday, then just what should Ward Prowse be valued at ?
Certainly a lot more than £33 million for a player who only two years older than Buendia and who at 26 is at the peak of his game with 9 Premier League campaigns behind him and 269 top flight games.
Now these three factors should give James Ward Prowse food for thought when it comes to consider whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
We can understand why players want to better themselves and compete at the highest level , but the truth is in England now it is a closed shop for success, the Big Six has been reduced to a Massive Four and then you have the floundering three, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal & Leicester hanging on the coat tails, tale away the three clubs promoted from the Championship, a division that is now light years behind the Premier League and you have 10 clubs in the middle ground.
Occasionally one of them can have a good season as we did ourselves when we pushed into 6th spot in 2016 and then last year when West Ham sneaked into the same position.
But ultimately the other 10 are fighting for the middle ground, hoping that at the top end of the table one of the floundering three will implode and that at the bottom the promoted clubs will sink without trace.
So Aston Villa could at a pinch snatch a top 10 spot, but they have the likes of Everton spending more to get past, but could they get much higher, it is a possibility, but it is a long shot and their chances will greatly diminish when Jack Grealish joins Manchester City.
This will of course give them money to spend and the opportunity to spend far more than a derisory £25 million on Ward Prowse, but will their squad have improved that much.
The truth is that Villa's chance of glory is not much more than Saints, they could repeat 11th or get a bit higher, but they could just as easily finish 15th as Saints did last season after 11th in the previous term.
So when James Ward Prowse weighs up all the factors he should consider just what Aston Villa can offer him on the field, they have lost their best player and will be looking for Buendia and Ward Prowse not only to replace him but take them to higher glory.
Saints quite rightly are keeping quiet and biding their time, they are saying the right things and have the security of a contract signed only a year ago that runs to 2025, they know that if Buendia is worth £33 million then James Ward Prowse is worth far far more, they will point to Ben White a player who a year ago had not played in the Premier League and who has now joined Arsenal for £50 million as a benchmark and then they will point to the fee that Villa will have received from Manchester City.
Grealish was a big big factor for Villa, 6 goals and 12 assists in the Premier League, but Ward Prowse was just as valuable for Saints 8 goals and 8 assists, that is not a lot behind Grealish , football clubs these days go a lot on stats, Grealish looks good with his exciting swashbuckling style, but the end result although good is not that much more than JWP's.
Saints will therefore stand strong, they will not cave in to a derisory £25 million offer, they will point at Buendia and they will point at Ben White and they will point at the money received for Grealish and say make us an offer we truly cannot refuse.
Every player has a price, as I have always said, it is not about who you sell it is who you buy next, there will be a point where we will consider that we can improve the squad more with the money than we can with Ward Prowse still in the side, this is what Villa will be thinking, get £100 million for Grealish and spend it on Buendia and Ward Prowse and we will potentially have two players who will get more goals and assists than Grealish and still have some change.
That is the way we will think, we will already have our targets lined up, yes the short sighted amongst the fan base will scream "no ambition" & "Gao Out" as they did back in 2014 & 2015 but truth is there are only four clubs who can truly spend big without having to sell, the rest have to wheel and deal.
I hope James Ward Prowse stays, but it will mean that we will have to look for the bargains, sell Ward Prowse or Danny Ings or Vestergaard and we can go for more targets.
So in conclusion, taking into account evidence James Ward Prowse will not improve his footballing career greatly by going to Aston Villa, it will be perhaps his last move, if he gives them two years he will be nearly 29, if he stays here and has another great season he might just get a move to a club that if not the Massive Four perhaps the floundering three, but not a lot of point in playing musical chairs in the mid ground minions.
Ralph Hasenhuttl alluded to the fact that players these days do not want to be club legends anymore, James Ward Prowse has the opportunity to be just that !
Photo: Action Images
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