Transfer Talk: Manchester giants will battle for Ward-Prowse
Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse is at the centre of a transfer battle between local rivals Manchester City and Manchester United.
England international Ward-Prowse, 27, has been in fine form for the Saints this season and has wowed fans around the globe with his exquisite set-piece proficiency.
He has netted nine top-flight goals this term, of which four have been direct free-kicks, with only David Beckham having scored more in the Premier League era.
City boss Pep Guardiola described Ward-Prowse as the best dead-ball specialist in the world and the Daily Star claim he is on the Spaniard’s radar as a long-term replacement for experienced skipper Fernandinho.
However, the English champions are unlikely to get a clear run at a deal with their neighbours also monitoring the situation closely.
Incoming Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag believes Ward-Prowse would be a perfect addition to the base of his United midfield and has made his thoughts known to Old Trafford chiefs.
It may take as much as £60million to prise the midfielder away from the club he has been with since childhood — though a departure does appear increasingly likely.
Aston Villa had a £25m approach knocked back by Saints last summer and could re-enter the race, while Arsenal and Tottenham have also been linked in recent months.
If Ward-Prowse wishes to truly nail down a spot in his country’s midfield ahead of November’s World Cup, a move to one of the division’s leading lights would enhance his prospects.
But he looks set to have plenty of options with clubs across Europe also keeping tabs on his availability.
In other news
The Sun say Chelsea are worried about losing Mason Mount due to their inability to offer the 23-year-old a new contract under current Government sanctions.
Until a takeover is completed, Mount will remain one of the club’s lowest-paid first-team players and both Manchester City and Liverpool may look to take advantage of the situation.
Wolves are open-minded about selling star midfielder Ruben Neves this summer, according to The Times, with Bruno Lage keen to add depth to his squad in defence and attack instead.
Portuguese midfielder Neves, 25, has previously attracted interest from a number of clubs, including Manchester United.