Tottenham Hotspur are interested in a deal to bring James Ward-Prowse to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this summer.
That’s according to a report by the Daily Star, who claim that Spurs, alongside the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United, are tracking the Southampton central midfielder closely, ahead of a potential swoop for the 27-year-old at the end of the season.
However, the report goes on to state that any interested party would have to pay Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side a figure in the region of £60m in order to prise him away from St. Mary’s this summer – and even then, Saints may still not be willing to sell the England international.
Considering just how impressive Ward-Prowse has been for Southampton over the last few years, in addition to the fact that Conte is known to be looking to add some creativity to his central midfield options in north London ahead of 2022/23, it is easy to see why the 52-year-old would be keen on a deal for the Saints star this summer.
Indeed, over his 33 Premier League appearances this season, the £33.5m-rated talent has been in electric form for Hasenhuttl’s side, scoring nine goals, registering five assists and creating eight big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.5 shots and making 2.1 key passes per game.
The £100k-per-week midfielder has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.1 interceptions, 1.2 tackles, 43.2 passes, 1.8 long balls, 2.2 crosses and winning 2.8 duels per fixture.
These returns have seen the 27-year-old dubbed a “machine” by his Southampton teammates average a breathtaking SofaScore match rating of 7.31, not only ranking him as Saints’ best performer in the league but also as the joint 14th-best player in the division as a whole.
Furthermore, the signing of Ward-Prowse would also immediately make Tottenham a much more dangerous proposition from free-kicks, with the 10-time capped international having scored 14 Premier League goals from dead balls, ranking him second – behind only David Beckham – in the top flight’s free-kick scoring charts.
This ability saw Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola – one of the managers thought to be keen on a move for the midfielder this summer – dub Ward-Prowse as the best set-piece taker in world football, with the Spaniard stating:
“He is the best taker I have ever seen, right now in the world. He is so good, maybe this quality of a football player. He’s a team player, great quality without the ball. Set pieces and corners is exceptional.”
As such, being a player who is deadly in the final third, creative and tough in the heart of midfield and possesses a lethal free-kick, it is clear to see why the Southampton sensation is a player Conte would love to add to his Spurs squad this summer.
However, with a great deal of interest in the 27-year-old, Fabio Paratici will certainly have his work cut out if he is to secure the £60m+ singing of the South Coast star, but it would undoubtedly be well worth the trouble for the Tottenham sporting director.