Newcastle United are set to face stiff competition if they decide to pursue a move for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse this summer, according to a report.
The Star claim that Manchester City and Manchester United have both ‘entered the race’ for the England international midfielder with Newcastle already being joined by Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is showing interest.
The 27-year old has spent his entire career at the South Coast club, first joining their youth academy nearly 20 years ago, and has long had admirers amongst the top sides in the country.
Here is everything you need to know about what is being reported this morning on the Ward-Prowse situation:
Man City and Man Utd join Newcastle, Arsenal and Spurs in Ward-Prowse transfer race
As reported by The Star, Ward-Prowse has many potential suitors with Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle all tracking developments closely and now both Manchester clubs are joining the race.
They report that the England international “has been added to the Reds summer shopping as they search for two new central midfielders as part of their planned close-season overhaul”.
However, they will be in “direct competition” with their local rivals with City boss Pep Guardiola being “a huge admirer” of the play maker and previously having described him as “the best dead-ball specialist in world football earlier this season”.
However, with his current St Marys contract running until 2026, it could cost up to £60m for the Saints to accept an offer.
Who is most likely to sign James Ward-Prowse this summer?
All five clubs have the financial muscle to move for the England star if they are so inclined and all are expected to have busy transfer windows this summer.
Manchester City’s summer is expected to focus on securing a deal for Borussia Dortmund star man Erling Haaland as they prioritise signing the Norwegian.
Arsenal are also likely to put most of their effort into securing a new forward with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having left in January and both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s contracts due to expire at the end of the season.
As for Spurs, the focus of their window could depend on how they finish the season and which players remain at the North London side.
It is Manchester United who are expected to have a central midfielder near the top of their wish list particularly with Paul Pogba’s deal due to expire.
However, they have been more frequently linked with fellow England stars Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips and incoming head coach Erik ten Hag will have final say on all transfers.
That could allow Eddie Howe to get out in front in the race to sign Ward-Prowse if they decided to make him a key target in the window but Southampton’s reported asking price could be problematic.
Although the St James’ Park side do now have the financial backing to meet a £60m fee, the club are expected to strengthen throughout the entire team in the next window and financial fair play regulations prevent them going above certain ceiling when it comes to spending.
That could mean that the most likely scenario come the end of August is that the Southampton skipper remains at St Mary’s.