According to a recent report from The Sun, James Ward-Prowse has been linked with a move away from Southampton. The 23-year-old came up through the ranks at St Mary’s and has since gone on to play 205 times for the South Coast, although he hasn’t always been a first team regular in recent times.
And it appears that Javi Gracia’s Watford are keen on the £16.2 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt), although Mark Hughes and Southampton would be making a huge mistake were they to let the midfielder leave before Thursday’s 5pm deadline.
Ultimately, the one-time England international managed 30 Premier League appearances for the relegation-threatened Saints last term as they just about avoided the drop, although only 20 of those were starts.
And with just one start in their last five matches of the campaign, it’s plausible that the 23-year-old isn’t at the very forefront of Hughes’ first team plans, what with the likes of Mario Lemina and Oriol Romeu, and possibly new signing Stuart Armstrong, likely to dominate the central midfield positions.
However, one mustn’t forget that Ward-Prowse was arguably the club’s best player at the turn of the year in netting twice in a 2-2 draw at Watford, before producing a man-of-the-match display in a 3-2 success over West Brom back in February – points that ultimately played an integral part in keeping the Saints in the Premier League.
And having produced the goods down the right hand side of midfield at times last term, as well as the more advanced central position, it’s clear that the 23-year-old has the capabilities to fulfil a variety of roles – his presence would give Hughes plenty of options going forward this season.
Significantly though, Ward-Prowse possesses genuine midfield quality with a keen eye for a pass and excellent vision, alongside a deadly delivery from set pieces – he is technically very strong and adds a great deal to this Southampton team.
Add in the fact that he knows the club inside out having come up through the ranks at St Mary’s, and there is little doubting that the midfielder would be a huge asset to Hughes this term – there’s a reason he earned his senior England debut only last year. And at the tender age of 23, he’s surely only going to get better.
Thus, despite Watford reportedly making a £10 million bid for the 23-year-old, Southampton would be making a huge mistake were they to let Ward-Prowse leave this summer.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!