JAMES Ward-Prowse is a "firm target" for Newcastle United in the upcoming transfer window, according to a report by Football Insider.

The Saints skipper was subject of interest from Aston Villa over the summer, with the Daily Echo understanding a bid of £25million was rejected.

The 26-year-old subsequently put an end to the speculation by penning a fresh five-year deal at Saints.

Speaking at the time, the academy graduate said: "I was keen to put that to bed and sort everything out.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with the club and this is another good statement I feel. I feel at home, I feel this is right and I’m excited for the next chapter for sure."

Saints have always maintained their reluctance to sell their captain.

However, Newcastle, who have just been taken over by mega-rich Saudi owners PIF, are reportedly still keen on the England midfielder.

Football Insider claims the north east club will "explore the possibility of a deal" ahead of the January window, with Saints said to value Ward-Prowse at £40million.

Ward-Prowse scored a late equaliser when Saints drew 2-2 at Newcastle in August.