Manchester United and Liverpool have taken an interest in Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, although Newcastle United could get to his signature first, according to a report.
Ward-Prowse has shown immense loyalty to Southampton, despite regularly having offers to join other Premier League teams. The central midfielder has amassed 399 appearances for the Saints, registering 53 goals and 51 assists.
He has emerged into arguably Southampton’s most important player in recent seasons, having been named captain and proving to be a regular source of goals and assists.
Ward-Prowse is the most prolific free-kick taker in the English top flight. With 17 free-kick goals, he is now just one strike behind the legendary David Beckham.
On Saturday, Football Insider reported that Ward-Prowse will ‘definitely’ leave Southampton if they are relegated to the Championship. The club sits in a precarious position, occupying 20th spot. They are two points from safety but have played an extra game than most of their relegation rivals.
That report named Tottenham as potential suitors for the England international. But according to an update from the same source, Man Utd and Liverpool will rival Spurs for his capture.
Man Utd and Liverpool have both scouted Ward-Prowse on several occasions this season. They are now weighing up potential bids for him come the summer transfer window.
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag wants a top-class midfielder to partner Casemiro ready for next term, while Liverpool are preparing to undergo a midfield overhaul this summer. Ward-Prowse could move to either English giant to help with their respective aims.
Man Utd and Liverpool face Newcastle threat for signing
Man Utd and Liverpool should be able to get him for a relatively cheap sum, too. While the Saints are protected by his contract, which runs until June 2026, Man Utd and Liverpool will know that Ward-Prowse will push for a transfer if relegation is confirmed. Therefore, Southampton will not be able to hold out for his full valuation and will have to sell for around £40million.
The only trouble for Ten Hag and Jurgen Klopp is that Newcastle are posing a serious threat in the transfer race. They have also sent scouts to watch the 28-year-old recently and are seriously considering making an offer.
Newcastle have a trick up their sleeve, too. Ward-Prowse is represented by the same agent company as Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope. Therefore, Newcastle can use their existing relationship with Ward-Prowse’s agent to get the jump on Man Utd and Liverpool.
It will be sad for Ward-Prowse if Southampton are relegated and he faces no other choice but to leave. He has great love for the club, having spent all of his career there so far.
But Ward-Prowse is simply too good for the Championship and this means he should push for a move to Man Utd, Liverpool or Newcastle if the Saints go down.
Such a transfer would give him the chance to shine on a bigger stage and potentially get to play in the Champions League for the first time.