Hasenhuttl provides major transfer update on Everton and Villa target Ward-Prowse

Martin Macdonald
James Ward-Prowse

Everton and Aston Villa may be disappointed in their pursuit of a midfielder this summer as Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that the club expect James Ward-Prowse to stay.

Ward-Prowse has been a consistently impressive performers for the Saints over the last few years and is the club captain.

He is known for his superb delivery, particularly from set-pieces, and last season enjoyed his most productive in front of goal.

In 38 starts, he scored eight goals and recorded seven assists, which works out at a goal contribution of 0.39 per match.

Ward-Prowse's performances have generated interest from other clubs in the Premier League, and there has been worry at the club that he could be tempted by a move away like Danny Ings was with Villa, and Jannik Vestergaard is set to be with Leicester.

Southampton fans can rest easy, though, as it appears Ward-Prowse is staying put.

"This is normal, I think," Hassenhuttl said about the speculation.

"Ward-Prowse is a guy who everybody wants to have, but I don't see the scenario for him not to be with us for the next year(s).

"He knows he's the captain here, we know how important he is for our club. He feels good here, and we feel good with him.

"He has a four-year contract here, so the situation with him is a different one (compared to Ings and Vestergaard).

"And, finally, I think the squad we see now is the squad we'll see this season.

"Maybe one more player is coming in.

"We have strengthened in the transfer period, in order to have more alternatives for the season."

Southampton's summer business

Unfortunately for the Saints, they have been penalised for not tying down certain players to long-term deals.

Both Ings and Vestergaard were in the last year of their contract which forced the club into selling to receive a transfer fee, while influential left-back Ryan Bertrand left on a free transfer this summer for Leicester.

To be fair to Hassenhuttl, though, he has acted quickly to replace most of them.

Romain Perraud has been signed from Brest for £11m as a direct replacement for Bertrand as he will slot in at left-back.

Ings' goals have been invaluable, so £15m Adam Armstrong from Blackburn will have his work cut out to act as the main man up top.

The Vestergaard deal hasn't been completed yet, and when it does, Southampton will likely need a new centre-back.

Valentino Livramento is a very exciting prospect at wing-back and was Chelsea's Academy Player of the Year.