West Ham have been linked to many defensive midfielders in an attempt to replace the departed Declan Rice. With money to spend, the club is also looking to add a central midfielder in addition to Rice’s replacement. One name that is being reported as a top target for the Hammers is Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse. Arguably the best free-kick scorer in the world, Ward-Prowse is looking to find a Premier League side after relegation with his boyhood club.
West Ham set to increase efforts to sign James Ward-Prowse
The Guardian report that West Ham are looking to step up their interest in James Ward-Prowse. The report mentions that Southampton are looking for £40M in a Ward-Prowse deal, but West Ham may have a trick up their sleeve to reduce the fee. The club could send midfielder Flynn Downes the other way in order to sign Ward-Prowse at a cheaper cost. Flynn Downes would be reunited with his former manager Russell Martin, who he played under at Swansea City. The Guardian report that Ward-Prowse would be open to joining West Ham. Fulham is also mentioned as a possibility for the midfielder.
Flynn Downes, who could join Southampton, only signed with West Ham last summer. He struggled to find game time under David Moyes this past season. Downes is a West Ham fan, so it feels unlikely the player would want a move away which may complicate West Ham’s swap deal outlook.
Ward-Prowse joined Southampton’s academy at age 9 in 2003. He is one of few one-club players left in modern football, especially at 28 years of age. Ward-Prowse is one free-kick goal away from tying David Beckham’s record for most free-kicks goal in Premier League history.
Another central midfielder West Ham is linked to that isn’t a Rice replacement is Conor Gallagher. Should he end up with West Ham, it would be Gallagher’s fourth London-based club, having played for Chelsea, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace.