West Ham make opening move to sign Southampton's James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse - West Ham make opening move to sign Southampton's James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse’s set-piece expertise makes him an attractive option for David Moyes – Reuters/John Sibley

West Ham have made their opening move for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and have lodged a bid worth around £25 million in total.

The England international, 28, was relegated with his club last season but is seen as a player who could fulfil a number of roles under David Moyes.

Moyes, the West Ham manager, has been looking at a host of defensive midfielders including Denis Zakaria, Joao Palhinha and Scott McTominay and while Ward-Prowse can play in that position, he can add competition in advanced areas.

Ward-Prowse has three years left on his contract at Southampton but is expected to move this summer, with new manager Russell Martin shaping a squad for a Championship promotion bid.

He has been at Southampton for his entire career and played 11 seasons in the Premier League with them before their relegation last season. Clubs were looking at him before he committed a new deal at St Mary’s in 2021.

Moyes must oversee a midfield rebuild as Declan Rice has moved to Arsenal in a £105 million record deal for an English player.

West Ham have appointed Tim Steidten as technical director and have been braced for a busy summer of transfer activity when it was accepted that Rice would leave the club. Michail Antonio has also been the subject of serious interest from Saudi Arabia.

They will have another season of European football after winning the Europa Conference, with last season’s Premier League form impacted and the club battling against relegation for parts of the campaign.

Angelo Ogbonna has agreed a new one-year deal and will be part of the squad next season, while bids have been rejected for Aaron Cresswell from Wolves as they are looking at left-backs. Ward-Prowse has been a long-term target and has the added advantage of being a homegrown player.

West Ham are also being linked with a £40 million move for Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher but it is understand Tottenham is his more likely destination.

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