Why Chelsea should sign James Ward-Prowse from Southampton

Chelsea (Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images)
Chelsea (Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images) /

One headline in particular that has dominated the rumor mill for Chelsea fans is the possibility of bringing in Brighton & Hove Albion’s stud midfielder Moisés Caicedo. Despite the clubs reportedly being in negotiation for nearly two months now, no deal has been made. Brighton wants £100 million for Caicedo, and Chelsea in their persistent pursuit of submitted bids have fallen short of the Seagulls’ asking price.

With the season starting soon, it may be time for Chelsea’s board to explore some alternatives if they can’t come to an agreement with Brighton over Caicedo. Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse is one player in particular that could work, that wouldn’t cost nearly as much money, and who has a lot more experience in the Premier League.

The 28-year-old English midfielder has made a name for himself having spent the first 12 seasons of his career at the club. For the last ten seasons, they have been in the Premier League, but after a disappointing 2022-23 season, they were relegated to the Championship. Ward-Prowse staying at Southampton playing in the Championship makes no sense considering that he is under 30, and is more than good enough to contribute to a Premier League team.

James Ward-Prowse would be a smart signing for Chelsea

The skill that he has mastered over the last few years that has helped him make a name for himself is his incredible ability to score from free kicks. In January 2022, before their match against premier league giants Manchester City, their manager Pep Guardiola said “Southampton have the best free-kick taker I have ever seen, or at least he is in the world right now.”

That’s pretty high praise from arguably the best manager in the world, and also someone who has played with and coached some of the best players in the history of the sport. Especially when you consider that Guardiola coached Lionel Messi in his prime and he is certainly one of the better free-kick takers in history.

What separates Ward-Prowse from a lot of the current CFC midfielders is experience playing in the EPL. At the moment Chelsea has a very young team, that doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in the EPL. One area in particular where the experience is lacking is in the midfield.

As of right now if you look at CFC’s roster the only guy that is labeled a midfielder that is older than 23 is Hakim Ziyech who is 30 and will most likely not suit up for Chelsea this season. With that being said, the oldest midfielder is Conor Gallagher at 23. Which is why Ward-Prowse makes sense for Chelsea he would add experience and stability to a midfield that was missing it last season and currently doesn’t have it right now.

Another reason to love what Ward-Prowse brings to the table is the fact that he is very durable and consistently on the field. He hardly ever misses games, playing in every Premier League game in three of the last four seasons.

One thing that Chelsea should think about is Ward-Prowse will not cost nearly as much money to sign compared to Caicedo. Recently West Ham United has undergone an aggressive pursuit of the English midfielder, and although according to Sky Sports Ward-Prowse wants to join the Hammers, and they have submitted a bid of £30m to Southampton, but that bid has been rejected. West Ham reportedly doesn’t want to go above £30m, and the Saints have reportedly wanted £40m for the player.

If the Hammers don’t want to budge on their price, then Chelsea should throw their hat in the ring, and swoop in Ward-Prowse for themselves. The price range that the Saints want for their prized possession isn’t out of this world, and Chelsea certainly has the money to meet the demands of Southampton.

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It’s imperative for the Blues to do something and sign a midfielder with experience because the clock is ticking on the season and the end of the transfer window. The sooner the West London side can sign new players the better it will be for Pochettino to integrate them into his system.