His first transfer: free-kick king Ward-Prowse joins West Ham

His first transfer: free-kick king Ward-Prowse joins West Ham

While Leeds United are lending players in droves, co-relegated Southampton are taking a different approach: Ralph Hasenhüttl’s former club could earn a three-digit million sum this summer from transfers alone. Now the farewell to Captain James Ward-Prowse is also complete.

The 28-year-old England international (eleven internationals, two goals) is leaving the club he joined as a child after a total of 410 appearances for a reported 35 million euros. The first transfer of his career takes him to West Ham United. The Hammers, who are believed to have plucked Harry Maguire from Manchester United for a similar sum, have a special player to look forward to.

There’s more to Ward-Prowse than free-kick goals

Midfielder Ward-Prowse is not only considered the best free-kick taker in the Premier League, statistically he is too: since 2013, only Lionel Messi (32) has scored more direct free-kicks in Europe’s top five leagues than West Ham’s new signing (17). With a success rate of 14.3 percent, Ward-Prowse is even number one. Without even having held a standard training session, the Hammers have suddenly become more dangerous on stationary balls since this Monday.

Ward-Prowse, who surprisingly converted just two out of four penalties last season, is nonetheless more than a king of free-kicks. At Southampton he was considered an important voice in the dressing room and the fittest player. No wonder his new coach David Moyes was so keen on signing him.

While Ward-Prowse has signed a contract until 2027, Southampton may still have the most expensive sale of the summer ahead of them: after centre-back Mohammed Salisu (Monaco, around €15m), right-back Tino Livramento (Newcastle, around €37m) and Ward-Prowse Prowse could flush the 19-year-old six Romeo Lavia over 50 million euros in the coffers. Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC remain top prospects.


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