West Ham want Ward-Prowse, Here’s Why
West Ham have had a £30 million offer for James Ward-Prowse rejected by Southampton, but it’s thought they’re likely to return with an improved bid.
Despite their victory in the Europa Conference League last season, the Hammers remain the only Premier League side yet to make a signing this summer.
Following captain Declan Rice’s move across London for a reported £105 million, the club have money to spend, with relegated Ward-Prowse a primary target.
Coupled with the club’s rejected £20 million bid for Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, it is clear the profile of player the club are looking to bring in.
The loss of Mark Noble and Declan Rice in successive summers, mean the club have lost two established leaders of the playing group. Long serving left-back Aaron Creswell also looks keen to leave with the club having recently rejected a bid from Wolves.
While West Ham’s league position slipped last year, Ward-Prowse could be key in returning them to the top half of the table. David Moyes’ best sides have all contained strong characters and reliable leaders. Another key strength of his most successful teams were set pieces – think Leighton Baines whipping balls in to Marouane Fellaini.
Ward-Prowse embodies these qualities, having performed at a consistently high level for the Saints for a number of years. Remarkably, he once played every possible minute of Premier League football for two consecutive seasons, the only outfield player to ever do so. Formerly captain of England youth sides, and current captain of Southampton, he would prove a valuable leader on the pitch.
Not only is he currently second in the list for goals from direct free-kicks in the Premier League with 17, only one behind David Beckham, but he would also provide dependable, world class delivery from dead ball situations. Since Cresswell has slowly dropped out of the team, West Ham have lacked an accomplished set piece specialist.
In the 2020/21 league season, West Ham topped the table for goals from set pieces. With aeriel threats like Tomáš Souček, Kurt Zouma, Michail Antonio and Craig Dawson getting on the end of Ward-Prowse passes, this could again prove a steady stream of goals.
His general play as a tireless, passing midfielder is strong too, 11 caps for a talented England side doesn’t come without skill.
Last summer’s transfer window saw West Ham gamble, as they brought in expensive players from abroad. Gianluca Scamacca, Thilo Kehrer, Nayef Aguard and Lucas Paquetá all struggled to hit the ground running, with only Paquetá eventually justifying his fee.
While none of these signings should be written off, it is clear that Moyes now wants Premier League proven quality.
It is understandable for West Ham to step back from negotiations while they consider a second bid. Every club in the world knows West Ham have recently come into serious money. They must not allow themselves to be held to ransom, but Ward-Prowse looks to be the ideal player for David Moyes’ West Ham.