Arsenal thrown into the mix for phenomenal James Ward-Prowse – Its time to leave

Ward-Prowse sights set on Beckham's free-kick record

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Arsenal’s name has been thrown into the mix as a possible destination for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse. Former Saints striker Charlie Austin claims the time has now come for his “phenomenal” old team-mate to leave St Mary’s.

Ward-Prowse has spent the entirety of his professional career to date at Southampton. He still has over four years remaining on his contract with the south coast club.

But Austin has seen a huge growth in the midfielder in the last couple of seasons. And he reckons he would boost his chances of being in England’s World Cup squad later this year if he were to move this summer.

Austin said on talkSPORT: “When I was there with him he played a little bit second fiddle to (Victor) Wanyama, to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jordy Clasie, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis. Maybe just took his time.

“And then over the last two years he’s been club captain, he’s cemented himself in there. But certainly now I think it’s time to leave.

“This is why – because I think if he wants to go to a World Cup, he needs to be at a different football club than what Southampton are offering, or the way they’re performing.

“I just think he’s more appealing if he’s at a different club.” Austin was then asked which club he thinks could sign Ward-Prowse.

Arsenal are likely to be in the market for a midfielder this summer, with Wolves’ Ruben Neves a target. But Austin believes a move to the Emirates would be good for Ward-Prowse, or to somewhere like Leicester or Newcastle.

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He added: “I do think he’d fit in at an Arsenal, or a Leicester, or Newcastle. Newcastle are on a rebuild, the way they’re going.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they threw the dice at him.” Ward-Prowse scored his 14th career Premier League free-kick in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brighton.

He is just four behind David Beckham’s all-time record of 18 free-kick goals in the competition. But Austin believes there is more to the 27-year-old’s game than just his set-pieces.

He continued: “The best thing for him, his set pieces are brilliant, probably going to beat David Beckham’s record, but the nuts and bolts of his game, running hard, winning the ball back for his team, leading this team, is phenomenal.”

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