Transfer News: Southampton to warn against James Ward-Prowse transfer amidst Tottenham Hotspur interest
According to the Daily Mail, Southampton are determined to keep their captain James Ward-Prowse beyond the summer and will warn their Premier League rivals, including Tottenham Hotspur, against a move for the midfielder.
The Englishman has been a standout performer for the Saints over the past couple of seasons, pulling the strings in midfield for the team. He has also proven to be a strong leader in the dressing room as they continue to punch above their weight under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
This season as well, he has continued to shine in the middle of the park and drive his team forward, playing alongside Oriol Romeu. His performances have also seen him become an England international, representing his native country on the world stage.
The biggest attraction about the 27-year-old is his set-piece ability, with the midfielder virtually guaranteeing a goal if he stands over a free-kick that is within his range. He even scored from a direct free-kick in the previous game against Brighton, earlier in the week.
Saints determined not to sell
The excellent form shown by the south coast club’s captain has seen sides like Newcastle and Tottenham take an interest in the player ahead of the summer transfer window. While the Magpies are looking to continue their squad rebuild since the takeover of their new rich owners, Tottenham are said to be keen to sign the Englishman -only for the right price.
However, Southampton are determined to keep their captain beyond the summer and will not entertain any bids for their star player. With the midfielder having another four years left on his current deal at St. Mary’s Stadium, the Premier League side is not obligated to sell him to a rival.
The Saints’ insistence to keep him for a few more years will make it hard to prise Ward-Prowse away from them, but that could change if Spurs make an active approach for the player. After all, it is anyone’s guess how the England international would have responded to the prospect of moving to a bigger club as the next step in his playing career.
Given that the FIFA World Cup is rolling around later this year in Qatar, the Southampton skipper would want a platform for Gareth Southgate to notice and put him on the plane with the rest of the Three Lions squad. He currently has just 10 caps for the senior side and playing for one of PL’s ‘big 6’ is surely a tag that can help players get noticed in the footballing world.
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Furthermore, the Lilywhites offer him a chance at European football ahead of the new season, which could attract Ward-Prowse. Although a Champions League qualification place is not guaranteed yet this term, Spurs are in a good position to ensure that they can grab hold of it.
Else, a Europa League or Conference League spot awaits the player, which is still a chance to play in Europe. Southampton are unlikely to give him that opportunity, and under manager Antonio Conte at N17, the midfielder could take his game to the next level. But for that, we would have to make an effort to formalize any interest that the club may hold in the player.