Man Utd ‘in transfer battle with Man City’ for James Ward-Prowse as price tag emerges
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Manchester United will reportedly go in for Southampton star James Ward-Prowse but will face competition from arch-rivals Manchester City. The Red Devils are planning to bring in at least two midfielders in the summer and have earmarked dead-ball specialist Ward-Prowse as a key target.
United are expected to overhaul their squad at the end of the summer with incoming boss Erik ten Hag plotting a rebuild. A shortlist of targets has already been drawn up by the club as they look to bounce back after a disastrous season to date.
According to the Daily Star, Ward-Prowse has been added to United’s summer shopping list following a stellar campaign on the south coast. However, they will face direct competition from rivals City for his signature.
Pep Guardiola is claimed to be a huge admirer of the 27-year-old and will explore a summer move for him. Southampton will be desperate to retain the services of their skipper and star player but may be tempted to cash in on him if a significant offer comes in.
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The same report states that the Saints would only be drawn to the negotiation table if a bid in the region of £60m is registered. Ward-Prowse only signed a new long-term contract at Southampton last August but could yet be tempted to leave in the summer. The midfielder has ambitions of making England’s World Cup squad and joining a top club in Europe will only bolster his chances.
United and City are not the only Premier League clubs vying for the Saints star’s services with Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle all credited with interest as well. The England international has enjoyed one of his best seasons of his career and has scored 10 times in all competitions.
His stunning double against Brighton last weekend saw him move behind David Beckham in the Premier League all-time free-kicks scored table. But Ward-Prowse has also caught the eye of the top-flight’s big sides for his defensive and creative abilities.
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Plucking Ward-Prowse from Southampton could prove tough though with the Daily Mail reporting earlier this week that the club are unwilling to part ways with him this summer. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was full of praise for his midfielder recently and admitted he brings ‘extra quality’ to his side.
“It’s always good to see that my 6s are coming into these areas. We have Ori [Romeu] who has scored goals this season and [James] Ward-Prowse is also coming into these situations and this is nice for him, definitely,” he said on Thursday.
“You know that I judge my players also on other things – what they deliver for the team and this is for me sometimes more important, but sure goals like he scored on the weekend definitely helps us and this is an extra quality he adds to our game.”
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