Aston Villa: Gabby Agbonlahor reacts to James Ward-Prowse interest
Former Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor believes reported target James Ward-Prowse would be a ‘great addition to the squad’.
The Lowdown: Villa rumours
Unai Emery has reportedly been given a level of control none of his predecessors have been allowed, with Christian Purslow expecting an extremely busy transfer window at Villa Park.
Ward-Prowse appears to be on the club’s radar, with reports last month suggesting Villa have reignited their interest in the 28-year-old.
Emery failed to sign a central midfielder in January and could now move for Ward-Prowse even if Southampton remain in the Premier League.
The Latest: Agbonlahor’s comments
Talking to Football Insider regarding the interest in Ward-Prowse, Agbonlahor believes the Southampton captain ‘would be a great addition to the squad’ but isn’t sure if he would go straight into Unai Emery’s starting XI.
“I wouldn’t say he’d be an upgrade on anything Villa have..
“He would be a great addition to the squad, but I’m not sure he’d be guaranteed to start every week.
“With Kamara, Ramsey, Luiz and McGinn already at the club, that’s already quite a good set of options in the midfield.
“I think it would be a good signing to bring him in, but I can’t see where he slots into that midfield straight away. He’d have to fight for his place.”
The Verdict: Better than Agbonlahor thinks?
Ward-Prowse would bring plenty of Premier League experience to the Midlands and would offer a quality option at set pieces, especially from free kicks, scoring 17 direct free kicks over the last ten years with a conversion rate of 15.2%, better than Lionel Messi.
Statistically, he has actually outperformed every Aston Villa player this season, as per WhoScored, averaging more key passes than any player in Emery’s side. He also averages just under 50 passes per game for the Saints, more than the majority of Villa’s squad, so there could be an argument for him becoming a key man under Emery.
Ward-Prowse can turn out in central or attacking midfield roles, so he could prove to be better than just a squad option, as Agbonlahor first claimed.