Liverpool are among several Premier League clubs interested in Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
What’s the latest on Ward-Prowse?
According to Football Insider, Liverpool will battle against Newcastle United and Manchester United for the Saints captain, with his side currently at the bottom of the Premier League.
The report suggests that if Ruben Selles’ side fail to beat the drop, Ward-Prowse could leave the club with a fee of £40m enough to prise him away from his boyhood club.
This is not the first time that a club has had a serious interest in taking the 28-year-old away from the south coast. As per Sky Sports, Southampton rejected a £25m bid for Ward-Prowse back in 2021, whose contract runs until 2026.
The next Jordan Henderson?
This will not be the first player to make the move from Southampton to Liverpool, with the clubs having a history of doing business in the past. Since 2014, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Sadio Mane and Vigil van Dijk have all made the move up to Merseyside for a combined fee of €205m (£180m).
The Reds have done well with shrewd purchases in the past and have made bargain additions from the smaller clubs in the division. One of which was fellow midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who moved to the club from Newcastle United for a fee of €27.50m (£24m) and went on to win the Premier League and Champions League. Left-back Andrew Robertson was captured from Hull City for just under £3m in 2014 and has gone on to make 256 appearances for the club, with Xherdan Shaqiri also proving to be a useful rotation option during his time at the club after making the move from Stoke City for £13m.
Liverpool also need numbers in the midfield, with former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta set to leave when their contracts expire at the end of the current campaign.
Despite making the move to Liverpool at a younger age, Henderson’s £20m transfer away from Sunderland was his first and only permanent switch from his home club, with him and Ward-Prowse sharing similar attributes if he leaves.
During the 2022 World Cup, Harry Kane lauded the Liverpool man, calling him one of the “best leaders” that he had played with, with Southampton’s right-back Kyle Walker-Peters echoing a similar sentiment towards Ward-Prowse, stating that he is “role model” for the way a captain should be.
He has been imperative for Southampton over the past two seasons and have been one of the main reasons that they are still in the Premier League. Missing just 11 games through injury since 2014, he was their top scorer and assister last campaign, notching 15 goal contributions and leads the way this term, netting on seven occasions with only Che Adams providing more layoffs.
Henderson, on the other hand, has taken a step back in the last couple of years with his performances levels dropping. This season, he averages a rating of just 6.53 at the heart of the pitch, making just 0.8 tackles, 0.6 interceptions and o.4 clearances. As for Ward-Prowse, he makes 1.7 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and one clearance while hitting a score of 6.98.
The £100k-per-week star is also a dead ball specialist, providing a goal threat that Henderson simply cannot complete with. Ward-Prowse has netted 17 goals from free-kicks in career and is just one short of equalling David Beckham’s record. If Southampton get relegated, Liverpool can find themselves a new and improved Henderson in the Southampton man.