Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse could be set to leave the club today, amid rumours that Watford have offered £10 million for the 23-year-old. Hornets boss Javi Gracia is understood to be keen on pursuing a late move for the midfielder; however, the decision will ultimately fall to Southampton manager Mark Hughes.
James Ward-Prowse has emerged as one of Southampton’s brightest young talents over the last few seasons, making a total of 30 league appearances for the Saints in 2017/18. The dynamic central midfielder will face tough competition from Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina for a place in Southampton’s starting XI this season, leading to reports that Ward-Prowse would be willing to move to a club where he will be guaranteed minutes on the pitch.
Earlier in the summer transfer window, Ward-Prowse was hotly tipped with a move to Burnley, but with the Clarets already shelling out an estimated £29 million on Joe Hart, Matej Vydra, and Ben Gibson, the club are not willing to spend big on another player until January.
Southampton have spent over £50 million on new players over the last few weeks, bringing in the likes of Angus Gunn, Jannick Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Stuart Armstrong. In terms of departures, the Saints have raised just £10.2 million in funds from the sale of Dusan Tadic to Ajax. This could leave Mark Hughes with some tough decisions to make during today’s transfer deadline.
One player that Hughes will allow to leave Southampton is goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who could find himself falling further down the pecking order since the arrival of Angus Gunn.
“Fraser is looking at options. I had a conversation with him and said he needs to get back playing and he agrees with that.” said Hughes. “We are seeing if we could get him to a place that he would feel is appropriate for his talent.”
Should Southampton fail to offload Forster before today’s transfer deadline, they could be tempted to accept Watford’s £10 million bid for James Ward-Prowse. The 23-year-old has never quite managed to establish himself in the senior side at St Mary’s; however, there’s no denying that he is a popular figure amongst fans, many of whom will be sad to see one of their most promising homegrown players leave the club.