By Anthony Onifade

16th May, 2023 | 7:10am

West Ham United transfer news as James Ward-Prowse holds no relegation release clause in Southampton contract

James Ward-Prowse’s contract at Southampton does not contain a relegation release clause but the Saints are braced for bids with West Ham United among those interested, according to Daily Mail.

The Saints star and England international has been outstanding this season with seven goals and two assists but has so far been unable to move them away from an inevitable relegation fate.

A report by 90min revealed on 18 April that the midfielder is open to leaving St Mary’s this summer with the club open to selling him if they receive a bid of around £50m but given Southampton’s impending relegation, that figure could certainly reduce.

The Mirror newspaper [4 May, page 55] reported that West Ham United are ready to renew their interest in the free-kick specialist with Ward-Prowse open to leaving St Mary’s, however, any move may ultimately come down to his quoted price with no relegation release clause said to be contained in his contract, [Daily Mail, 16 May].

“Mail Sport can reveal that did not include a clause which would allow the midfielder to leave for a set fee in the event of Premier League relegation — a fate that was sealed after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Fulham.

“Saints’ insiders say they want to keep Ward-Prowse, who is admired by Aston Villa, West Ham and Tottenham”, the report reveals. 

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Sticking point

With Declan Rice likely to leave this summer due to much interest from elite clubs and Tomas Soucek entering the final 12 months of his contract, the midfield is a position the Hammers will be desperate to bolster and a return for Ward-Prowse certainly makes sense given his Premier League experience and quality.

It’s a real surprise the 28-year-old is still a Southampton player right now, but that says much about his loyalty as much as any club’s inability to get him to move, although he is on £100,000-a-week guaranteed.

With the Saints’ relegation fears now confirmed, the England international certainly looks set to leave St Mary’s and a Premier League return next season to a bigger outfit is certainly on the cards.

However, with his contract at the club running till 2026 and containing no release clause in his deal, the Saints can demand any sort of fee they like which could well prove a sticking point for West Ham United if they were to pursue any potential deal.