West Ham ready to drop £25m pursuit of Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse

West Ham are ready to walk away from a deal for James Ward-Prowse after having a second bid turned down for the Southampton midfielder.

David Moyes wants to sign two midfielders after the £105m sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal and the manager has made Ward-Prowse a key target. However, Southampton want about £40m for Ward-Prowse and West Ham believe he is not worth more than £25m.

West Ham are yet to make any signings and there is tension between Moyes and the club’s technical director, Tim Steidten. Moyes wants players with Premier League experience and has been reluctant to accept Steidten’s targets. Insiders have described the situation at the club as a mess.

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West Ham, whose midfield options are Tomas Soucek, Flynn Downes, Conor Coventry and Lucas Paquetá, have accepted there is no point in pushing Steidten’s players on Moyes and are trying to back their manager. Ward-Prowse wants to leave Southampton after their relegation and Moyes is an admirer of the 28-year-old’s set-piece expertise.

However West Ham, who are willing to include Downes as part of a deal with Southampton, are reluctant to pay over the odds. They see no resale value in Ward-Prowse given he will be 29 in November and have concerns over meeting his current wages of about £100,000 a week.

West Ham are prepared to look at other options if a compromise on a fee cannot be found. They have targeted Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher, Fulham’s João Palhinha and Ajax’s Edson Álvarez. They could sign Juventus’s Denis Zakaria on loan.

A right-sided central defender is also on Moyes’s wishlist and West Ham had a £20m bid for Harry Maguire rejected by United last week. West Ham have been working on a deal for the Manchester City defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis and are interested in Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah and Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah.

The Hammers are due to complete a £14m deal for the 19-year-old City winger Carlos Borges and could move for a striker if they lose Michail Antonio or Gianluca Scamacca, with Roma trying to sign the latter.

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