Former Aston Villa striker Kevin Phillips has been discussing his old side’s interest in James Ward-Prowse.
Villa were heavily linked with a move for the Southampton captain until he signed a new contract with his boyhood club in August.
Ward-Prowse decided to pledge his future to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side and it was reported in the summer that Villa had seen an offer worth around £25 million turned down for the England international.
Villa had been heavily linked with midfielders throughout the summer window with Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United’s Sander Berge mentioned as potential targets.
Ward-Prowse’s team-mate Oriol Romeu was also name-checked in reports as a Villa target too.
Some Villa fans think that their side have begun the season short in midfield with Marvelous Nakamba, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz and Carney Chukwuemeka to call upon.
Phillips, meanwhile, reckons the sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City for a British record transfer fee of £100 million may have put Ward-Prowse off a move.
“You have to give credit to the player,” Phillips said to website Football Insider.
“We aren’t privy to what goes on in the background in terms of agents and whatever but there will have been conversations.
“He’s committed to Southampton and that’s brilliant, he clearly loves the club.
“He’s highly thought of and they will have made it known how much he’s valued at St Mary’s.
“Turning down Villa is still a big call. With the signings Villa have made, he might have thought he could go and replace Grealish.
“Or maybe he saw Grealish go and thought Villa were worse off so he decided to stay. That pushed him to sign a new deal with the club and snub Villa, which makes the sale look like a mistake.
“The biggest thing for me is giving credit to the player but from Villa’s point of view, swapping Grealish for Ward-Prowse would have been a brilliant move.”