Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transfer

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Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transfer
Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transfer

James Ward-Prowse had looked like a potential solution to West Ham's midfield problems, but the England international now looks like he'll be going elsewhere.

The Hammers have yet to make a signing this summer as they prepare for another season in Europe, having won the Europa Conference League final. They have money to spend after selling Declan Rice to Arsenal for £105m, but their pursuit of a number of midfield targets has so far fallen flat.

Two approaches for Joao Palhinha were knocked back by Fulham, and David Moyes' side now appear to be out of the race for Ward-Prowse. The Southampton Ward-Prowse is expected to leave St Mary's after relegation, but a move to the London Stadium is no longer on the cards.

According to Sky Sports, West Ham held positive talks over the midfielder, who has 11 senior England caps. However, they have opted to walk away with their and Southampton's valuations still some way apart.

Southampton may now be able to call upon their skipper for the Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, but there are still other places where Ward-Prowse could fit in. Here, Mirror Football looks at five of those options.

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Liverpool

Liverpool's need for new midfielders is no secret. The arrival of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai helped make up for some early-window departures, but losing Jordan Henderson and Fabinho has left the Reds right back where they started.

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Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transferJames Ward-Prowse's long-term future remains uncertain (Getty Images)

Klopp was asked about reinforcements in the light of Fabinho's move to Al Ittihad. “That would be not a bad idea,"he admitted. "We know that we have to do something there. It is absolutely clear. We are working on solutions."

Not only could Ward-Prowse add quality and experience in the middle as youngsters Stefan Bajcetic and Curtis Jones continue to develop, but he's one of only a handful of players who might be able to stand in for Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back moved into a more hybrid role last term, and having someone capable of replicating that in the 24-year-old's absence could be crucial.

Chelsea

Chelsea have sold several midfielders this summer, with N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic chief among them. They have signed one, Lesley Ugochukwu, who has been tipped to leave on loan immediately.

Yes, the Blues have welcomed back Andrey Santos from loan, and yes, the Brazilian has impressed in pre-season. They need more than that, though, even if Ward-Prowse doesn't fit the age profile seemingly prioritised by owner Todd Boehly.

There's still the question of Conor Gallagher, with a chance West Ham up their interest after moving on from Ward-Prowse themselves. If the academy talent leaves, there will be a clear gap in the middle of the park.

Fulham

Last season was an impressive one for Fulham, but they'll know they can't afford to stand still. Andreas Pereira, Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed impressed last term, but there isn't a great deal of depth in the position - especially given the current injury situation.

Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transferFulham boss Marco Silva is in need of reinforcements (AP)

Pereira suffered a broken ankle at the tail end of last season, requiring surgery, while Palhinha is likely to miss the opening game of the season at the very least after suffering a shoulder issue on tour. Fulham's only senior signings so far are centre-back Calvin Bassey and striker Raul Jimenez, with more exits still possible.

"Let's hope we have more new faces in soon," Marco Silva said after the pre-season defeat to Chelsea. "We are really short. We cannot keep preparing with seven or eight kids in our sessions."

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Wolves

While Wolves can't fully replace Ruben Neves following his Al Hilal move, Ward-Prowse wouldn't be a bad pick-up. A man with experience of captaining a top-flight side, and a threat from distance and from set-pieces, feels like it would suit Julen Lopetegui's side.

Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transferWolves have yet to replace Ruben Neves (AFP via Getty Images)

The summer window has been a relatively subdued one for Lopetegui. Matheus Cunha and Boubacar Traore have signed permanently after loans last term, while Matt Doherty has returned to the club, but there's a sense there is - or at least should be - more to come.

Wolves' main issue, of course, is Financial Fair Play. Their manager has made no secret of his frustrations with the restrictions, but if further sales free up funds for the Spaniard then there would be worse ways to spend it than on Ward-Prowse.

Crystal Palace

Palace have also lost their captain, though Luka Milivojevic has been less of an on-field factor than Neves of late. The Serbian started just five league games last season before leaving upon the expiry of his contract.

Five potential moves for James Ward-Prowse after West Ham pull out of transferLuka Milivojevic is one of several senior stars Palace have lost this summer (Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock)

Nevertheless, Palace need both bodies and experience in the middle. Milivojevic wasn't the only midfielder to leave, with James McArthur also out of contract and Albert Sambi Lokonga returning to parent club Arsenal, while star forward Wilfried Zaha is among the others to move on.

Jefferson Lerma's arrival from Bournemouth will help, but Ward-Prowse would also make sense if the Eagles feel the financial outlay would be worth it. We’ve lost five senior players from last season and brought one in – Jefferson Lerma," manager Roy Hodgson said "He’s good and we’re happy to have him in – but there is still that hole of five senior players in the squad, two of whom were two of the real stars of the team."

Tom Victor

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