JAMES WARD-PROWSE is the man Erik ten Hag wants to run Manchester United’s new midfield.
And that could trigger a £75m tug of war in the summer, as City boss Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of the Southampton captain.
Ten Hag faces a huge amount of rebuilding work at Old Trafford and has already started drawing up a list of targets.
And he has the OK to move to Ward-Prowse, 27, with West Ham intent on keeping Declan Rice for another season.
The Hammers want £150m for Rice, too much for the Red Devils, who will almost certainly miss out on the Champions League in the next period.
However, the JWP, which would cost half the price of rice, is highly rated by Ten Hag.
Old Trafford sources believe he can play in midfield.
Ward-Prowse earns around £100,000 a week with the Saints, which means his salary – even at a high high – isn’t a hindrance either.
His five-year deal runs until June 2026, and he’s not pushing for a change, although the lure of joining one of football’s big guns is hard to resist.
Guardiola wants a midfielder to replace Fernandinho.
FREE BET AND SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS – BEST OFFERS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
The City boss called JWP one of the best dead-ball specialists in the world.
But he wouldn’t be guaranteed regular first-team action at the Etihad.
Ten Hag will get a kitten worth around £100m, but could double that through sales and other matches.
Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly and Anthony Martial are likely to be sold.
Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani will join Nemanja Matic through the door, saving £660,000 PER WEEK in wages on these three alone.
Meanwhile, Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, 22, is expected to join for £20m.