James Ward-Prowse has been at Southampton since the age of eight. But, after 15 years, is his time on the South Coast coming to an end?
Ward-Prowse has been a regular in the Saints team over the last few seasons, starting over 20 games in each of the last two Premier League campaigns and even being rewarded with his England debut in 2017.
But the academy graduate has fallen out of favour since Mark Hughes arrived at St Mary’s in the spring. Ward-Prowse has been limited to just 110 minutes of Premier League football this season with Mario Lemina, Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all ahead of him in the pecking order.
According to The Express (2 November, page 49), the 23-year-old is now open to the idea of leaving the club where he has spent his entire career. But, rather than join a rival top flight team, the report suggests Ward-Prowse could be the latest Englishman to make the switch to Germany after growing tired of life on the bench.
Ambitious RB Leipzig are understood to be interested in signing the set-piece specialist. Leipzig, who are bankrolled by energy drink giants Red Bull, have made their name as a club that signs young, promising talents with a big re-sale value, such as Naby Keita, Timo Werner and former PSG starlet Jean-Kevin Augustin.
So Ward-Prowse would fit the bill for Ralf Rangnick’s side, who are currently fifth in the Bundesliga and well-placed to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Europa League.
Perhaps the success enjoyed by Ademola Lookman, Reiss Nelson, Jadon Sancho and co in Germany could convince Ward-Prowse to leave English shores for the first time.