SAINTS have turned down a £25million bid from Premier League rivals Aston Villa for captain and talisman James Ward-Prowse, the Daily Echo understands.

The 26-year-old midfielder signed a new five-year contract with Saints just last summer, committing his future to the club until at least 2025.

To add, The Athletic have also reported that Villa's offer was thought of as "derisory and not even considered by the south coast club".

The Daily Echo understands Saints are very reluctant to lose their skipper this summer.

Ward-Prowse was Saints’ key man last season with eight goals and featured in every Premier League game of the term, as well as narrowly missing out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad after making the provisional lineup.

He has played every minute of every game for Saints across the past two seasons.

The Saints captain knows a number of Villa’s players through the England senior and youth setups though, and will have caught already-impressed manager Dean Smith’s eye even further after scoring two free-kicks against his side last season.