West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Man Utd deal off, with West Ham to sign England ace Guardiola labelled the best he’s ever seen instead

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and Man City attacker Phil Foden

West Ham will walk away from signing a Man Utd star in favour of completing a move for a highly-regarded England international ‘as soon as possible’, per multiple reports.

The Hammers recently bid £30m for both Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay. Neither offer was accepted, with the valuation gap regarding McTominay a sizeable £10m.

With Man Utd setting their stall out at the £40m mark, Sky Sports claimed West Ham are far likelier to compromise on the fee for Maguire rather than McTominay. By contrast, Maguire is valued in the £30m-£35m range, per the Manchester Evening News.

As such, and with a McTominay deal on the brink, both the Athletic and Daily Mail state a move for James Ward-Prowse will be ramped up instead.

West Ham have already lodged two offers for the Southampton captain. Bids worth £20m and £30m (£27m plus £3m in add-ons) were deemed unsatisfactory by Saints chief Jason Wilcox.

However, according to the Athletic and Mail, a renewed push from David Moyes’ men is likely to succeed.

Firstly, the Athletic state West Ham are ‘working to conclude’ a move for the set piece specialist ‘as soon as possible’.

Southampton hope Ward-Prowse will play in their home Championship clash with Norwich on Saturday. However, it’s suggested that even if Ward-Prowse does feature, it’ll be his last game for his boyhood club.

The Mail add meat on the bones, claiming a bid totalling £32m will be enough to seal deal.

Given that is just £2m higher than West Ham’s last bid, the end is in sight.

The Mail concluded ‘all parties’ are now working to conclude a deal.

Ward-Prowse wows Guardiola

In the event West Ham do strike an agreement with the Saints, they’ll be landing a player who has a huge admirer in the form of Pep Guardiola.

Among Ward-Prowse’s many stellar traits is his deadly delivery from set pieces as well as his ability to score direct from free-kicks.

His tally of 17 goals direct from free-kicks is just one behind Man Utd legend David Beckham’s 18 in the Premier League era. The gap to joint-third on that list (Gianfranco Zola, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo) is a hefty five.

His dead ball abilities previously drew an almighty compliment from Man City boss Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard has seen his fair share of free-kick specialists in his time, not least Lionel Messi during his stint at Barcelona.

However, it was Ward-Prowse who he previously labelled the best he’s ever seen from the dead ball.

“They (Southampton) have the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life in [James] Ward-Prowse,” said Guardiola after a hard-fought 1-0 Man City victory in December, 2020.

READ MORE: West Ham find McTominay alternative, but compromise for Maguire is coming