By Daniel Feliciano

8th Jul, 2022 | 2:10pm

Paul Merson backs James Ward-Prowse as good signing for West Ham United, questions ambition

Paul Merson believes that James Ward-Prowse would be a good signing for West Ham, but questioned the player’s ambition as he looks set to stay at Southampton.

The Hammers have been linked with an interest in the England international as David Moyes looks to bolster his midfield options this summer to improve on their 7th place Premier League finish in the 2021/22 season.

But a hefty price tag [Claret & Hugh, June 17] and the player’s will to remain at St Mary’s looks set to keep him at the club, and Merson questioned his ambition while claiming that Arsenal should be looking into acquiring him too while writing in his Daily Star column.

“Youri Tielemans would fit nicely at Arsenal if James Ward-Prowse takes the soft option and stays at Southampton,” he said.

“I start to worry when that happens when a player plays it safe like that. What are you going to do, realistically, at Southampton?

“West Ham wanted Ward-Prowse and that would have been a good move for him too because they will finish above Saints.

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“But I said before that Arsenal should have gone in for him. The thing is, if he’s staying at Southampton, maybe he doesn’t have the ambition?”


Ward-Prowse is undoubtedly a player with great quality, but whether or not those are best suited at West Ham remains unclear.

He has tremendous ability when it comes to dead ball situations, with his set-pieces definitely being his greatest asset. But aside from that, it’s hard to see where he excels that other midfielders in the Hammers squad don’t already.

A high price is likely needed to take him away from his club and he simply isn’t worth the sums being quoted for him, regardless of his free-kicks and corners, as Frank McAvennie says too.

West Ham were able to bring in Flynn Downes quickly and for a fraction of the price, and are still likely to be trying to sign another midfielder.

Whether it’s ambition, price or another factor that stops Ward-Prowse moving to the London Stadium this summer, it’s probably best for all parties that that is the final outcome for this transfer chase.