Transfer Talk: Moyes may Hammer out a deal for Ward-Prowse
West Ham have been strongly tipped to poach James Ward-Prowse from Southampton this summer.
It appears unlikely his will stay with his boyhood club after their relegation from the Premier League.
And with Hammers skipper Declan Rice's future uncertain, boss David Moyes is likely to be in the market for a new midfielder.
Ahead of West Ham's Europa Conference League final clash with Fiorentina, we turn the spotlight on Ward-Prowse's potential move to East London.
Added goal threat
West Ham were poor in front of goal during a Premier League campaign in which they finished 14th.
Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen were the club's joint-top scorers in the division, despite netting just six goals each.
Ward-Prowse, 28, managed nine from central midfield — including three trademark free-kicks — and also recorded four assists.
The Saints captain would add some much-needed goal threat to the Hammers' ranks.
Rice is one of the most wanted players around, with Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Manchester United among those interested in securing his signature.
Should he depart, the England international's defensive work would need to be replaced, given he made more interceptions than any player in the league in 2022-23 (63).
Ward-Prowse would be capable of replicating that, having made the fifth-most interceptions, with his total of 55 just eight behind Rice.
He also won possession back in the middle third 128 times, which ranks sixth in the Premier League.
Southampton's interim manager Ruben Selles, who has since left his role, admitted he expected plenty of interest in Ward-Prowse following the club's relegation to the Championship.
He said: "Of course, if you are a Premier League team, they will always come for the good players and James is one of those.
"So it's a natural thing that they will come and he will need to make a choice and the club will need to make a choice."
Nothing decided yet
Shortly before the culmination of the season, Ward-Prowse spoke out against rumours suggesting he had already reached an agreement to leave Southampton.
But he hinted at his personal ambition and a stint in the Championship during his prime years is unlikely to help him elevate his status.
He said: "No, there's nothing in that. The club know my thoughts and my position in terms of what I want to achieve in my career.
"Nothing has changed with that despite our position in the league. I want to give my all for this football club and whenever I put this shirt on I give 100%."
Final comes first
Before delving into the transfer market, the Hammers have to play one of the biggest games in their history.
Serie A side Fiorentina await in Prague and Moyes can secure their first major European piece of silverware since 1965 with a victory.
Victory would also deliver the prize of Europa League qualification — which could give the Hammers a crucial edge in their pursuit of Ward-Prowse.