West Ham are planning to pursue the signing of James Ward-Prowse to bolster their midfield.
“West Ham are set to open the transfer window with a bid for Southampton’s Ward-Prowse. The Hammers are expected to offer £25 million.”
The Hammers have lost the core of their squad. Declan Rice left Chelsea Youth to join West Ham Youth in 2014. Rice progressed through the West Ham youth ranks before breaking into the Hammers’ first team in 2017-18. He developed into a mainstay and was handed the captain’s armband when ‘West Ham Legend’ Mark Noble retired ahead of last season.
Last season, West Ham didn’t have a bad season with Rice. Although they finished 14th in the league, they won the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL). Rice was at the center of it all. Rice played 50 games, including cup competitions. In the league, he started all but one game. Rice was the link between defense and attack in the middle of the park, and for a center back, he was defensively stellar.
Arsenal, in need of midfield reinforcements, pushed hard to sign Rice, but West Ham rejected both bids from Arsenal. West Ham set a transfer fee of £100 million for Rice. Arsenal made an initial bid of £80 million with options. West Ham rejected the offer, and Arsenal made a second bid of £75 million plus an additional £15 million in add-ons. However, West Ham rejected the offer.
Despite the rejection, Arsenal didn’t give up. A third bid was made. A £5 million ($8.5 billion) add-on to the £100 million ($166.5 million) base transfer fee, and Rice would leave West Ham for Arsenal.
The Hammers have been on the lookout for a midfield option to replace Rice. Ward-Prowse was one of the names that caught the Hammers’ eye. Ward-Prowse is a renowned dead-ball specialist. His strong and accurate kicks are his biggest strength. Whether it’s a direct free kick or a corner, Ward-Prowse’s toe is often a threat from set pieces. He”s also very fit and injury-prone, which makes him a great addition to the team.
Last season was a difficult one for Ward-Prowse’s Southampton. Southampton spent the entire season in the relegation zone. After falling to 18th place, the Saints fired head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. The team’s performance didn’t improve with the change of manager. Nathan Jones took over, but instead of climbing out of the relegation zone, the Saints dropped to the bottom of the league. Another managerial change was made, but they couldn’t avoid relegation to the bottom of the table. 안전놀이터
Southampton had no reason to hold on to Ward-Prowse. When a team is relegated and the player decides to leave, they can’t afford to hold on to him. That’s when West Ham showed interest in Ward-Prowse. Southampton are willing to let him go if the transfer fee is right.
The Hammers are expected to step up their pursuit of Rice. According to The Telegraph, Ward-Prowse has three years left on his contract but wants to leave the club. If Ward-Prowse joins West Ham, he’ll be able to play in the English Premier League (EPL) next season. The Hammers could even qualify for the Europa League (UEL) by winning the UECL, which would be an attractive option.