For any number of reasons this could be an important summer for West Ham United.
The east Londoners will know in nine days time whether they’ve qualified for next season’s Europa League via the winning of its sister competition, the Europa Conference League.
That in itself would be a real boost for an outfit that are almost certain to lose their captain and talisman, Declan Rice, before the start of the 2023/24 campaign.
Indeed, it’s Rice’s imminent departure that has seen the Hammers in pole position to sign a midfielder that’s long been known for his own talismanic performances and for his dead ball prowess.
James Ward-Prowse could earn relegated Southampton as much as £40m according to The Sun, who also note that, aside from his nine goals and four assists during 2022/23, he created more chances than any other English midfielder in the Premier League during the same period (74).
At 28 years of age, it could be said that he’s already in his footballing prime, and he’d be a fine addition to a club that are renowned for playing the ‘West Ham way’ of front foot, attacking football.
Ward-Prowse is a player that enjoys the responsibility that comes with his position, and despite overseeing a poor campaign, he led by example throughout, often driving the Saints forward when all hope appeared lost.
It isn’t clear at this stage if David Moyes will still be in charge at the London Stadium next season, but regardless of who is, they surely can’t afford to pass up the opportunity of signing a player with international honours and who still has a number of years left at the very top of his game.
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