An update has emerged regarding Newcastle United and their pursuit of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse…
According to The Daily Star, the Magpies are among a number of clubs monitoring the England international ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window.
Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are also keen on the midfielder, who is said to be valued at £60m by the Saints. Pep Guardiola in particular is a huge fan of the St Mary’s academy graduate, but it remains to be seen whether or not any of the clubs will meet Southampton’s valuation.
Magpies boss Eddie Howe can find the club’s new set-piece specialist – Nolberto Solano 2.0 – in a deal for Ward-Prowse, with Toon legend Alan Shearer previously describing the 27-year-old’s dead ball quality as “ridiculous”.
Back in 2015, talkSPORT published a list of the best free-kick takers in Premier League history and Solano came in at number five. He had a 9% conversation rate from set pieces, scoring seven of his 78 such attempts on goal in the top flight. The midfielder played 315 games for Newcastle in total, scoring 48 goals and providing 77 assists.
Meanwhile, Ward-Prowse has played 302 matches for Southampton in the top division of English football and has found the net from a free-kick a whopping 14 times. Only David Beckham (18) has scored more in the history of the Premier League, which highlights just how much of a specialist the Saints captain is from dead ball situations.
This means that the 27-year-old can be the new Solano at St James’ Park, as he has proven his quality in the Premier League throughout his career, establishing himself as one of the best free-kick takers in the history of the top flight.
It would be wrong to only mention Ward-Prowse’s set-pieces when speaking about his ability, though, as he is an excellent and combative midfielder. He has averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.31 across 33 appearances in the league this season, chipping in with nine goals and five assists whilst making 2.3 tackles and interceptions per game in the middle of the park.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports’ YouTube channel, Nathan Tella said that the Saints skipper “can do everything”. This shows that his all-round game is at a high level, as he has consistently delivered brilliant displays for Southampton throughout the campaign.
Therefore, he would be a fantastic signing for Newcastle, offering Howe a reliable high-quality option in midfield who also possesses a historically superb weapon in the form of his set-pieces.