Carlton Palmer has offered his thoughts on James Ward-Prowse’s intentions at Southampton over the summer.
The former Saints player has rubbished Oriol Romeu’s claim that he never expected the 26-year-old to leave the club in the summer.
Romeu said: “If you want me to be honest, I never expected Prowsey to go anywhere.
“He belongs to the club and the club belongs to him. It is the perfect relationship. He has been here since a kid and he improves his game still he’s, even as the leader.”
When asked if he believed Romeu’s comments, Palmer told This Is Futbol: “No, absolutely not, absolutely not. If he had the chance to go to Aston Villa or Spurs and the deal had been agreed, he’d have been gone. I 100 percent believe that, 100 percent.”
These comments from Palmer will likely irritate Southampton supporters because it suggests that Ward-Prowse signing a new deal at St Mary’s was a fallback for the midfielder, a consolation prize of sorts. If that were the case, then why did he even sign the contract?
Following this logic, surely the captain would have been better off keeping to his previous deal and then forcing Southampton’s hand into a sale in a future window. The club could then have been worrying about losing him on a free transfer and willing to accept a lower fee, facilitating the move to Spurs or Villa that he supposedly would have been wanting to complete.
Villa and Tottenham were both linked with a swoop for the England international before he put pen to paper on a new five-year contract at St Mary’s. This suggests that he is willing to stay at Southampton and is not desperate for a transfer away from the club.
At the end of last season, Saints head coach Hasenhuttl heaped praise on the midfielder as the Austrian told the Daily Echo: “It’s not surprising for me, a player who played every minute this season is unbelievable.
“His physicality and his performances are outstanding. That’s our captain on the pitch and he is on the way that he is a very important player for this club for the long-term, I think.”
This highlights how important the £75k-per-week gem is to Southampton and why supporters will surely be irritated by Palmer’s belief that Ward-Prowse would have preferred to leave to join Villa or Spurs. Hopefully he will continue to show loyalty to the club and help push them up the Premier League table in the coming seasons.