Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse has regularly been linked with a move away from the South coast, with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur reportedly interested.
While there aren’t many players capable of replacing the technically gifted set-piece specialist, names are beginning to crop up for potential players to come in and attempt to fill his boots – including Manchester United youngster James Garner.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest midfielder has been attracting interest from Premier League clubs for a while, and according to a report in The Sun, Leeds and Southampton, in particular, are “keeping a close eye on him.”
After putting in a number of impressive performances in the Championship and FA Cup this season, it’s no surprise that he is attracting interest from top tier clubs – and it is likely that the race for his signature will only heat up further should United be willing to sell in the Summer.
Valued at just £3.6m by Transfermarkt, the 20-year-old has been at the east Midlands club for over a year now, after arriving on loan in January 2021 before extending it for this season too, and this season he has scored three goals and set up a further three in 29 league appearances.
While Garner is rated highly in Manchester, it is likely that the Premier League giants will be heading into a major rebuild phase which will include signings in the midfield positions too.
A young English midfield starlet could attract a big fee – and the sale could help fund the signing of a more first-team-ready player, benefitting Southampton who most-likely would have to pay less than the fee they would gain for Ward-Prowse – should they sell him.
Described as “absolutely superb” by the Nottingham Post’s Sarah Clapson, the England U21 international has averaged a 7.14 match rating in the Championship this campaign, having one shot per 90 minutes, as well as making over one accurate cross per game and just under two key passes per game.
With a passing accuracy of 80%, Garner would be a suitable option to replace Ward-Prowse, who is equally, if not better when it comes to finding a teammate, registering a pass success rate of 86%. That shows just how similar the two players are, remaining comfortable in possession at all times.
However, even if the England midfielder isn’t sold in the summer, the potential Garner has makes him a must sign player if he is up for sale.