James Ward-Prowse “didn’t even consider” leaving Southampton for Premier League rivals Aston Villa or Tottenham Hotspur in the transfer window, teammate Oriol Romeu has told Hampshire Live.
Whoever said the era of the ‘one club man’ is dead and buried?
Who’s to say Ward-Prowse won’t follow in the footsteps of the legendary Matt Le Tissier, applauded by all corners of Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames stadium while receiving an award for his services to the Saints?
Ward-Prowse had plenty of opportunities to turn his back on the club he joined in 2003 during a hectic summer on the South Coast.
According to Sky Sports, Aston Villa made a £25 million bid for the England international at the end of July, shortly before Danny Ings made his journey to the Second City.
Tottenham were also interested, as reported by The Telegraph, perhaps seeing Ward-Prowse as the perfect foil for the more defensively minded Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a new-look engine room under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Aston Villa and Tottenham failed to tempt James Ward-Prowse
But while Romeu was taken aback by the sudden departure of star striker Ings a month ago, the former Chelsea youngster was always confident Ward-Prowse would remain loyal to the club that gave him his break in professional football.
“If you want me to be honest, I never expected Prowsey to go anywhere,” Romeu says when quizzed about those links with Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
“He belongs to the club and the club belongs to him. It is the perfect relationship. He has been here since a kid and he improves his game still, even as the leader.
“I knew about the rumours, I knew about the clubs that were linked but I just didn’t see that happening at all.
“(James) didn’t even consider any of those options. He loves it here. The fact he is staying here for a long time is great news for everyone.”
According to The Athletic, Southampton value Ward-Prowse in the region of £50 million – twice as much as Aston Villa were prepared to pay.