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Arsenal told they have to avoid James Ward-Prowse “mistake” in summer transfer window


Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has been linked with transfers to West Ham and Man Utd but Paul Merson is adamant he is the perfect signing for Arsenal

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Paul Merson says Arsenal must stop West Ham landing James Ward-Prowse because him and Trent Alexander-Arnold are England’s greatest pass masters.

Former Gunners great Merson reckons his old club should be trying to hijack a Hammers move for Southampton star Ward-Prowse. The England midfielder is on West Ham’s radar this summer and Merson reckons it would be a big mistake for Arsenal to overlook him.

That’s because Merse reckons Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold is the only England player with a better range of passing than the Saints skipper. Writing in his Daily Star column, Merson said: “Arsenal cannot allow West Ham to buy James Ward-Prowse.

“I think he is a great signing for whoever gets him. I think he is one of the best passers of the ball in England. Him and Trent Alexander-Arnold see things few other English players do and they can spray it around the pitch because they have such a good range of passing. I don’t understand why Arsenal are not pulling out all the stops to try and take James Ward-Prowse from Southampton.”

Merson reckons Mikel Arteta’s young team are crying out for experience next season after missing out on the Champions League. But he fears Ward-Prowse isn’t a sexy enough name to tempt the Gunners into a move this summer.

Merse said: “Arsenal need to buy experience and they would be buying an experienced England international who knows the Premier League and would make a huge difference to them. They are crying out for a player who can spray the ball around from the middle of the pitch.







James Ward-Prowse is in demand this summer
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“They have plenty who can play nice, one-touch, tippy-tappy stuff but no-one who can switch the play or play a killer ball over the top. Granit Xhaka. Thomas Partey. Mo Elneny. None of them can do that. They are all exactly the same type of player.

“Arsenal need to get the ball out to Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli as quickly possible sometimes so they can run at people. That’s where someone like Ward-Prowse comes into it. He can play those passes with absolute ease from one side of the pitch to the other.

“It’s alright Arsenal having the ball all the time but if you don’t have people who can pass it you can’t do anything with it. And letting Ward-Prowse go to West Ham would be a blow in another way because they are a Champions League-chasing team too.

The Hammers would have another player who would walk right into the Arsenal team. Declan Rice would already. Michail Antonio would. So would Ward-Prowse. Years ago, not one West Ham player would have got in the Arsenal team. Now they are closing the gap and I think it would be a mistake to let them get Ward-Prowse.

“Arsenal should try for him. Surely he’d be tempted. Arsenal are not a million miles away. They are one top class striker away from being contenders. He’s not a shouter or anything but he is a leader and Arsenal need leaders as well. He sets an example on the pitch. He’s an experienced player.

“Arsenal don’t need to sign a lorryload of teenagers this summer. They need experience. And Ward-Prowse ticks every box. He is deadly from free kicks. Puts it on a sixpence from corners. What am I missing? Is it because he’s English and only plays for Southampton? I don’t get it.

“I think he’s massively underrated. He could play for any of the top clubs. He would walk into the Manchester United team. He’d be perfect for them as well.”

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