West Ham may have to rethink their efforts to land James Ward-Prowse this summer after a Hammers star reportedly turned down the opportunity to be part of an exchange deal.
David Moyes’ men have been one of a number of clubs linked with a move for the England midfielder following Southampton’s relegation from the Premier League last season.
Ward-Prowse’s set-piece expertise makes him an attractive option, with the 28-year-old just one shy of David Beckham’s record of scoring from direct free-kicks.
But with numerous clubs chasing his signature, the Hammers are hoping a part-exchange deal with one of their top young stars could tempt the south coast club into a deal.
However, midfielder Flynn Downes, who is the player mentioned in the Football Insider report, does not want to make the move.
The 24-year-old doesn’t want to drop down to the second tier, despite it meaning the chance to reunite with former Swansea boss Russell Martin at St Mary’s.
The midfielder only left the Swans to join West Ham last summer and wants to stay and fight for his place at the London Stadium.
Downes cost the Hammers a reported fee of £12million and signed a five-year deal at the London Stadium when he arrived last summer.
Downes a key man in West Ham Europa Conference win
He made 35 appearances across all competitions in his first season at the club, starting 15 times, and played a major role in the club’s Europa Conference League triumph.
Downes has also racked up almost 150 games in the EFL during spells with Luton, Ipswich and Swansea and it’s reported Saints wanted him to help bolster their promotion bid.
As for West Ham’s pursuit of Ward-Prowse, Moyes’ men are known to have had a verbal bid for the player rejected at the start of the summer.
However, there are expected to return with another offer that may not include a player in return as the Hammers look to reinvest in Moyes’ first XI after the £105m sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal.