James Ward-Prowse says the transfer speculation that followed him throughout the summer was the first time he has ever had to deal with such talk.
The 26-year-old was linked with a move to Aston Villa over the summer. In fact, with money in the bank after the sale of Jack Grealish, Villa made an offer, reported to be £25m.
The south coast club rejected that, though, having earlier insisted that they would not be selling their star man.
Despite heightened talk of Villa making Ward-Prowse a second club-record arrival of the window, the player stayed put. He then penned a new five-year contract last month to officially end speculation over his future.
Villa ended the summer without a new central midfield signing. It left Dean Smith relying on Jacob Ramsey, John McGinn and Douglas Luiz.
All three have performed admirably, allowing Smith some breathing space ahead of January.
While Ward-Prowse told HampshireLive as soon as he knew Saints wanted to keep him it was “a no-brainer”.
“It was the first time that I have faced that kind of speculation. So it was a different challenge,” he said.
“When I sat down and spoke with the club, it was immediately obvious that they were keen for everything to be sorted out.
Ward-Prowse benefitted from Ings move
“That was then a no-brainer for me. I love being here and to be a part of this club is really special.
“I’m pleased and really proud to continue this journey.”
Saints fans had feared losing Ward-Prowse to Villa as well as Danny Ings, who signed for the Villans for £30m at the start of August.
“That was definitely a benefit from it,” he added. “I think when I sat down and spoke with the club and they relayed to me their intentions and ambition of what they wanted to try and achieve with this team, it was a no-brainer to do it and to put everything to bed.”
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