Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has now overlooked 11 Premier League during his time in charge of the Midlands club, winning six, drawing one and losing four.
One player that has been a prominent figure in the team for Emery since his arrival is Douglas Luiz, who, alongside Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey, has made more appearances for Villa across all competitions (13) than any other player at the club under the Spaniard’s reign.
Looking ahead to the next summer transfer window, which could give the Villa boss a suitable amount of time to strengthen his squad, one player the Midlands club have been linked with in the past week who would be an upgrade on Luiz is James Ward-Prowse.
The Villans have been linked with the Southampton captain in the past and even had a £25m bid for him rejected back in July 2021.
In terms of being a potential upgrade on Luiz – who was linked with a Villa exit last summer – the duo’s efforts in the Premier League this season prior to this weekend have arguably shown why that may be the case.
For example, in terms of being in possession, the Englishman has made more progressive passes (122 vs 67) and key passes (49 vs 27) than the Brazilian, as well as delivering significantly more crosses (169 vs 56).
Meanwhile, in terms of their attributes off the ball, the 28-year-old has made more tackles in the midfield third of the pitch (18 vs 14) than Luiz, in addition to having more interceptions (31 vs 26), clearances (25 vs 12) and a higher percentage of aerial duels won (57.8% vs 53.1%).
Should Villa try and sign Ward-Prowse again this summer?
Hailed for his “phenomenal” performances for Southampton this season by journalist Alfie House, Ward-Prowse is now Southampton’s highest-rated player for this campaign according to WhoScored with an overall rating of 6.98/10, which is higher than Luiz’s rating of 6.77/10.
Taking all of this into account, if the south coast club fail to avoid relegation this season, we think Villa should definitely launch a move to finally bring the England international to Villa Park in the summer to add some extra quality and depth to Emery’s ranks.