Aston Villa have had a £25 million bid for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse rejected.
The Athletic understands Southampton would be incredibly reluctant to sell their captain to a direct rival and they realise he is their most highly-valued asset. He has just signed a new contract with them.
It is believed that the initial offer was seen as derisory and not even considered by the south coast club. A second bid is expected.
Ward-Prowse starred for Southampton last season, scoring eight goals in 38 Premier League appearances for the south coast side. He was also heavily in the mix for Gareth Southgate's England squad for Euro 2020, only being cut from the 26-man selection at the final hurdle.
Villa have been active in the transfer market already this summer. They brought in Emiliano Buendia from Norwich in early June for a fee of £33 million. Dean Smith has also added former player Ashley Young, who joined on a free transfer from Inter Milan.