Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl plays down talk of James Ward-Prowse exit amid Manchester United transfer interest
According to Daily Mail, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has dismissed talks of a potential exit for captain James Ward-Prowse in the summer, which will come as a transfer blow for Manchester United.
Ward-Prowse has continued to impress in midfield for the Saints, playing his role as the driving force of the team to perfection. Alongside Oriol Romeu in the middle of the park, the Englishman has established himself as the first pick for his manager.
Hasenhuttl claimed that the player had no intention to leave the club ahead of the summer transfer window, saying that Ward-Prowse has another four years on his contract, is captain of the team, and is happy on the south coast.
“He has another four years on his contract, he’s our captain and he’s happy here.”
Both the Manchester clubs are said to be interested in signing the midfielder ahead of the new season in order to bolster their midfield. Tottenham Hotspur have also emerged as a likely suitor for the England international in recent weeks.
“I think he’s very exceptional”
Ward-Prowse is renowned for his dead-ball skills on the pitch, getting fans off their seats with his accurate set-piece deliveries and free-kicks. Earlier this week, the 27-year-old was unanimously voted as Southampton’s player of the season by his teammates, further cementing his status as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
When asked if he had a message to others who were keen on signing his team’s captain, Hasenhuttl played down any talks regarding an exit by claiming that the player was loved by the fans and is important to the team. The Austrian went on to compliment the skipper, calling him exceptional.
“Fans love him and we know how important he is to our team. The development of his game is why he’s a true winner. I think he’s very exceptional. I haven’t seen any players similar.”
Having come through the ranks at the club’s academy, Ward-Prowse has been living the dream at Southampton, establishing himself in the first team and becoming the captain of his boyhood club. His performances have also seen him become an England international in recent years.
After spending nearly his entire life with the Saints, it now may be time for a move away from the south coast for the midfielder. He may be keen to further cement his place in the Three Lions squad with the World Cup rolling around later this year, and a move to a bigger club may do the trick.
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Any one of Spurs, United, or City will be able to provide him with the big platform he needs to shine and take his game to the next level. However, it is at Old Trafford that he would get the added opportunity to become a key part of a new-look midfield. In comparison, Spurs and City have already established sides, which may be difficult to break into.
A massive squad overhaul is being planned in the red half of Manchester in the summer, with a midfield shake-up likely, given the club’s performances in the current campaign. Ward-Prowse could prove to be a useful addition to the Red Devils’ midfield options, playing under one of Europe’s brightest managers in Erik ten Hag.