West Ham transfer news: Kalvin Phillips, Leeds plan surfaces with ‘best’ Guardiola has seen also eyed
West Ham plan to partner Declan Rice with an elite English midfielder this summer and a report has detailed why it could be Kalvin Phillips or James Ward-Prowse.
The Hammers have enjoyed successive encouraging seasons under David Moyes. Doubts were expressed as to how they would cope with the added burden of European football. However, West Ham took that challenge in stride and remained in the mix for European qualification while simultaneously reaching the Europa League semi-finals.
While their adventure came to an end in Frankfurt, they are all but assured of qualifying for Europe again next season.
Whether that’s the Europa League of Europa Conference League is yet to be determined. Regardless, Moyes will need adequate strength in depth and club captain Mark Noble is poised to depart at season’s end.
Few positions are as important as central midfield and per the Sun, West Ham are ready to make a splash.
They report the Hammers hope to sign either Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips or Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse. Bur rather than to replace the exit-linked Declan Rice, Moyes hopes to partner one of the pair with his talisman.
Rice was recently offered an eight-year extension to stay at the club. He is expected to spurn that deal, though West Ham are in a strong position nevertheless. Rice’s current deal runs until 2024 and the club have an option for a further 12 months.
Phillips is also a target for Manchester United and Aston Villa. His loyalties to his boyhood club make a deal difficult, though relegation would offer the suitors hope.
Kalvin Phillips future in the balance?
Failing to beat the drop could also see Phillips’ price tag slashed. Leeds currently lay in 18th position.
West Ham bid £50m for Phillips in January. Per the Sun, they are ready to test the waters once again this summer.
Also on their radar is Saints skipper, James Ward-Prowse. The 27-year-old continues to dazzle audiences with his set piece prowess. Indeed, he was previously hailed as “the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life” by Man City boss Pep Guardiola.
However, Ward-Prowse brings far more to the table than just dead ball delivery. His energy, composure, ability to pick out a pass and willingness to put a foot in would be loved by Hammers fans.
The report acknowledges Southampton are in a strong bargaining position after Ward-Prowse signed a new contract last August.
However, it’s noted the lure of European football could tempt. His international ambitions could also play a factor in his thinking with a move up the league potentially aiding his chances at Qatar 2022.
Which should West Ham sign?
Either of Kalvin Phillips and James Ward-Prowse would be an excellent addition to Moyes’ ranks.
It would relegate Tomas Soucek to a bench role if his customary 4-2-3-1 system were retained. However, Euro 2020 showed what a Rice-Phillips partnership was capable of when providing a rock solid foundation for England to thrive.
Neither deal will be easy to pull off. Phillips’ future may depend on whether Leeds beat the drop, though if they don’t, West Ham won’t be the only suitors in town.
Ward-Prowse is in a similar position to Phillips in that he is an integral figure at his boyhood club. But if West Ham are determined to one day make the top six a top seven, moves of this stature may be required.