Newcastle United are reportedly plotting a £40 million January transfer swoop for Southampton and England midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

According to Football Insider, Newcastle United are lining up a bid to sign Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse when the transfer window reopens in January. As per the claims, the Magpies are currently exploring the possibility of signing the 26-year-old and have made him a ‘firm target’ for the winter window as they look to bolster their midfield options to boost their survival bid.

Newcastle are expected to be one of the busiest Premier League sides in January following the club’s mega-million takeover earlier this month. With the team currently stumbling in the relegation zone, the new owners are set to exploit the transfer market to address the club’s issues on the pitch.

The report adds that PIF’s transfer advisors believe that strengthening the midfield department is as important as improving the defence. The Magpies have recently been linked with a £15 million move for Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba, whilst they are also said to be competing with West Ham and Everton for Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.

But Ward-Prowse appears to be high on their shortlist, given his vital Premier League pedigree and ability to operate in a variety of midfield positions. After progressing through the youth ranks at the Southampton academy, he has developed leaps and bounds since his breakout season in 2012/13.

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One of the first names in Saints’ starting XI, he has proven himself as a consistent performer over the years and was rewarded with the captain’s armband last year. In total, the 26-year-old has made 331 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals while assisting 42 more. His consistent growth has piqued the interest of many clubs, including Aston Villa, who reportedly had a £25 million bid turned down by Southampton earlier this summer.

After that, Southampton tied Ward-Prowse down to a new five-year deal running until June 2026, securing their star man’s long-term future at St Mary’s. They will again be reluctant to lose their skipper, especially to a relegation rival, but Newcastle, with their newfound wealth, can make an irresistible offer to bring the Saints to the negotiating table.

Newcastle currently lack a complete midfielder of Ward-Prowse’s ilk, who will be an upgrade on all their current options. He is primarily a box-to-box No.8 but can comfortably play in a defensive or more advanced role suited to the system and style. A set-piece specialist, the England international is known for his work-rate as well. He is technically sound and also a decent creator from the midfield.

He can also offer a forward threat as an all-action midfielder, having scored two goals in seven league games this season, coming on the back of a remarkable 2020/21 campaign in which he produced a career-high tally of eight goals and seven assists from 38 league outings.

Ward-Prowse could prove to be a massive coup for the Magpies and can hit the ground running, making an immediate impact to drive Newcastle up the table. What remains to be seen is whether the Tynesiders steps up their pursuit for the  26-year-old England international with a formal offer or turn to other alternatives.

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