Tottenham on alert after Southampton open door to midfielder transfer that could convince Kane to stay

James Ward-Prowse and Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Tottenham Hotspur may have a renewed chance of signing Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse in the summer, according to a report.

Ward-Prowse has been of interest to Tottenham in the past, but has remained loyal to Southampton. Indeed, he has spent his entire senior career with his current club, progressing to the role of captain.

Still under contract until 2026, Ward-Prowse’s Southampton career could in theory continue for another three seasons. However, the problem is that Saints are danger of suffering relegation to the Championship.

Ward-Prowse is now in his 11th consecutive season as a Premier League player. Therefore, if his club do go down, he might be someone that other top-flight clubs could rescue.

According to talkSPORT, Tottenham and West Ham United have been some of his main admirers. It follows claims from elsewhere last month that Aston Villa might fancy their chances of signing him too.

talkSPORT relays that Southampton will not stand in Ward-Prowse’s way if he wants to leave them if they end up in the Championship.

Should they stay in the Premier League, the situation could well be different. But since they are bottom of the table after 24 matches, they need to be realistic about their potential fate.

With that in mind, they are coming to terms with the prospect of finally selling Ward-Prowse. The radio station does not mention how much money they would be seeking as a transfer fee.

After all, there is no relegation-based release clause in Ward-Prowse’s contract. Any bidders will have to negotiate his transfer value.

But out of respect to their longest-serving player, who could be about to go above Jason Dodd as their leading Premier League appearance maker at the weekend, Southampton will listen carefully to offers for Ward-Prowse on the condition that they end up in the Championship.

James Ward-Prowse definitely Premier League quality

As an England international with 11 caps to his name, Ward-Prowse deserves to be playing at the highest level possible. Moreover, at the age of 28, he should be at his peak.

Joining Tottenham would not only allow him to remain in the Premier League, but he would also more than likely get to feature in a UEFA competition. Nine of his 395 Southampton appearances have been in the Europa League, but they came back in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Stepping back up to that level – or potentially even reaching the Champions League – would reflect how dependable Ward-Prowse can be. His reputation as an elite free-kick taker also deserves to be seen on the biggest stage possible.

And Tottenham have been looking to strengthen in Ward-Prowse’s position due to an injury to Rodrigo Bentancur. Hence, he could have an opening there.

Reacting to that link, talkSPORT pundit Darren Ambrose suggested it could have a beneficial impact on Tottenham’s hopes of keeping Harry Kane.

“I’d take him at Spurs for £50m,” Ambrose said. “I think he’s the perfect player that Spurs need that goes from defence to attack.

“And he can be that link to the play and I think you’ve got the players that will do the dirty work – the dog work – in terms of [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg and [Oliver] Skipp and players like that.

“I think he’s fantastic. Listen, you sign James Ward-Prowse, Harry Kane stays.

“That’s an extra 10 goals a season for him with his deliveries.”

Alternatively, the West Ham route may be connected to what happens with his England colleague, Declan Rice.

That said, for now Ward-Prowse will surely only be thinking about helping Southampton fight for Premier League survival. They are currently only four points adrift of 17th place, so have time to cut the gap.

Their next fixture will be against Leicester City on Saturday, at their St. Mary’s Stadium home.

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