Tottenham Hotspur are interested in a deal to bring James Ward-Prowse to north London this summer.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a recent report by the Daily Mail, who claim that the 27-year-old is one of Antonio Conte’s primary targets in the summer transfer window, with the Italian hoping to add two new midfielders to his Tottenham squad ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Further reports have claimed that both Manchester City and Manchester United are also interested in a move for the Southampton playmaker this summer, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side believed to be demanding a figure in the region of £75m in order to part with the England international.
The next Rakitic
While it is true that £75m is an extremely large sum of money for Tottenham to spend on one player this summer, considering the metrics Ward-Prowse returned for Southampton last season, the midfielder put forward a very strong argument to support him being worth this astronomical fee.
Indeed, over his 36 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the £43m-rated talent was imperious in the heart of Hasenhuttl’s side, scoring ten goals, registering five assists and creating eight big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 2.0 key passes and taking 1.5 shots per game.
The £100k-per-week dynamo also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.1 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 1.1 clearances, 43.8 passes, 1.8 long balls and winning 2.6 duels per fixture.
These returns saw the player who David Thompson dubbed “unreal” average a quite remarkable SofaScore match rating of 7.27, ranking him not only as Southampton’s best performer in the league but also as the seventh-best midfielder in the division as a whole.
Furthermore, according to FBref data, the 27-year-old also ranks in the top 12% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 18% for shots, the top 21% for assists, the top 8% for xA and the top 10% for shot-creating actions over the last 365 days.
These metrics see FBref compare the 10-time capped international to some of the most prestigious central midfielders currently playing the game, such as Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic and Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans.
As such, with a forward-thinking midfielder reported to be one of Conte’s primary targets in the summer transfer window, it would appear highly advisable for Fabio Paratici to do all he can to land Ward-Prowse in the coming months – as the Englishman could well prove to become Spurs’ very own Rakitic in the middle of the park next season.