Southampton: Sport Republic must 'build around' £75m star at St Mary's

Southampton owner Dragan Solak in the stands

Southampton owners Sport Republic will make keeping James Ward-Prowse at St Mary’s a priority ahead of the summer transfer window, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Sport Republic, led by Dragan Solak, completed a big-money takeover of the south coast club in the early stages of 2022 and may have a tough job on their hands as they look to fend off interest in Saints captain Ward-Prowse.

What’s the latest news involving Ward-Prowse?

Ward-Prowse may have a £100,000-per-week contract tying him down to Southampton until the summer of 2026, but that has not deterred his admirers.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with making a move for the central midfielder, who is valued at £75million by Saints.

Southampton have warned clubs that Ward-Prowse is not for sale, amid additional interest from Newcastle United, but the number of suitors does not stop there.

That is because he has worked his way onto West Ham United’s radar after gaining a fan in Hammers boss David Moyes.

Ward-Prowse has enjoyed the most prolific season of his career, having found the back of the net 10 times.

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What has Pete O’Rourke said about Ward-Prowse?

O’Rourke believes Sport Republic will be desperate to keep Ward-Prowse at Southampton ahead of next season.

The journalist feels the 10-cap England international needs to remain one of the first names on Saints chief Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team-sheet.

O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “I think you’ve got to try and build your team around James Ward-Prowse.

“He has been vital for Southampton over the last few years and, again, this season he has come up with so many crucial goals from set pieces and assists.

“He’s the captain of the club as well, so you don’t really want to lose that.”

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Is Ward-Prowse likely to remain at Southampton?

Hasenhuttl has issued a hands-off warning and insisted Ward-Prowse ‘will stay’ at Southampton beyond the closure of the upcoming transfer window.

The Saints boss has also revealed that the central midfielder is ‘happy’ with his current employers, making it seemingly unlikely that he will look to force through a move away.

That will be music to the ears of Southampton fans, who have seen him make 362 appearances since coming through the ranks.

However, an offer of £75million could tempt Saints as it would result in the 27-year-old becoming the club’s second most expensive departure.

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