Since the 2012-13 season, James Ward-Prowse has been playing in the Premier League with Southampton, making a bigger impression year-by-year. Something will have to change for 2023-24, as Southampton will be playing in the Championship, but will Ward-Prowse remain in the Premier League?
Speculation has been rife, as is often the case when a team is relegated, that Ward-Prowse will indeed be switching clubs before the new season starts. Several clubs have been touted with snapping him up, and whilst rumours may have quieted down to a degree, it would still seem likely at this stage that the central midfielder will seek pastures new.
The 28-year-old has 11 England senior caps to his name and has seemingly fallen down the midfielder pecking order under Gareth Southgate. Dropping into the Championship would not do his case any good, so if he holds serious international ambitions then he has to be looking to leave. He has been loyal to the club throughout his career, so may he be tempted to stay?
We will take a look at the odds supplied by Bet Victor to try and get an understanding of who his next club could potentially be. There are five clubs at the top of the odds which we will focus on to see if indeed he would be a good fit for them. Let's take a look at them now.
James Ward-Prowse Next Club: West Ham United (5/4)
With Declan Rice seemingly closing in on a switch to Premier League rivals Arsenal, that would suggest that Hammers boss David Moyes is looking to boost his central midfielder options. He could do a lot worse than looking in the direction of Ward-Prowse. Whilst it wouldn't necessarily be a like-for-like change, Ward-Prowse would still improve upon what they already have.
A case can certainly be made for West Ham to make their move for the now-Championship man. The playmaker would help the team in possession, certainly if looking to build from the back. Ward-Prowse can play either slightly deeper or in a more advanced role, which he did to decent effect during Nathan Jones' brief stint at St Mary's. This move would make sense.
James Ward-Prowse Next Club: Fulham (4/1)
It would appear that Fulham are in a market for a player in the centre of the pitch. The addition of Ward-Prowse would be an asset for a side like the one Marco Silva is looking to build. They prefer to keep the ball and build up patiently if possible, but they too showed an ability to counter attack at speed. Ward-Prowse's quick eye for a pass would help in both regards.
The club do have options in midfield already, but you can't help but feel Ward-Prowse would be a next level signing that would excite Whites supporters. Partnering him alongside João Palhinha, assuming he stays at the club, could make Fulham compete for Europe once again. Ward-Prowse as a replacement for Palhinha is also viable, too.
James Ward-Prowse Next Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers (6/1)
There is currently a big Rúben Neves sized hole in the Wolves midfield at present that needs filling as soon as possible. The future of manager Julen Lopetegui had been a big talking point, but with him now set to stay it is vital the club move forward with their summer recruitment. Boubacar Traoré has signed from FC Metz, but much more is still needed.
Ward-Prowse would slot into the Lopetegui way of playing with ease should this move materialise. You feel as though someone like a Wolves would really benefit from adding the creative midfielder to their ranks. The club is in need of a bit of a boost and adding Ward-Prowse would be a coup for the club that may ease some relegation fears amongst supporters.
James Ward-Prowse Next Club: Tottenham Hotspur (8/1)
Would Ange Postecoglou want James Ward-Prowse at Tottenham? There is every reason to believe it could be a match made in heaven. The Aussie is a pure possession-based coach and you can expect to see Spurs building from the back at almost every opportunity next season. Ward-Prowse would be comfortable showing for the ball and progressing up the pitch.
They do however have a good chunk of options in this part of the pitch already, and Postecoglou may decide to give those players at opportunity before looking to break the bank elsewhere. Rumours are that Tanguy Ndombele may get another shot at rescuing his Tottenham career. Still, it wouldn't be a massive shock if this move did take place.
James Ward-Prowse Next Club: Newcastle United (10/1)
Lastly, Newcastle make the top-five on the betting list, but you just feel there are other clubs out there that needs James Ward-Prowse that little bit more. Sure, Eddie Howe almost certainly rates Ward-Prowse as a player, but after recently adding Sandro Tonali from AC Milan for big money, you feel Newcastle's priorities are now on other areas of the pitch.