Tottenham are interested in luring James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, according to The Telegraph.
The Saints have already lost former star striker Danny Ings to Aston Villa, and they can ill-afford to lose the services of their captain to Tottenham if they want to avoid a relegation battle this season.
Ward-Prowse bears the rare distinction of being a pure “one-club man”. He started his professional career with the Saints in 2011 and has only been on its books. He has never even spent time on loan with another team.
The defensive midfielder has been thriving in recent years, and Tottenham Hotspur seems to be the natural step up for him.
He has not only become a key leadership figure in the St Mary’s dressing room but also established himself as one of the best dead-ball specialists in the English top-flight.
Ward-Prowse is the reigning Southampton player of the year and was also unlucky to have not been selected to the England squad that contested the European Championships this summer.
Due to their limited resources, Southampton are unlikely to challenge for European football this season but can safely avoid relegation and attain a solid mid-table finish.
If the club were to lose Ward-Prowse to Tottenham (or another Premier League rival) at this stage, they would be in serious trouble.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is a crafty manager who can help Southampton avoid the drop due to his ability to get the most out of his team.
However, if Ward-Prowse leaves, the already fragile Southampton defence can easily become the worst in the league and concede sloppy goals as happened last season.
The Saints must do everything that they can to keep Ward-Prowse but must also prepare themselves to part ways with him next summer.