Chelsea are interested in signing Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse and have shortlisted him ahead of the summer transfer window.
With Southampton's relegation to the Championship already confirmed, Ward-Prowse has naturally been linked with a summer exit.
It would mark an end to his 12-year stay at the club and, according to football.london, his transfer fee is expected to be set at around £50million. The club captain has three years remaining on his deal, so despite Southampton's relegation, the south-coast outfit can stay firm in negotiations.
Chelsea have added the 28-year-old to their transfer list, according to Football Transfers, and could compete with Tottenham, Aston Villa and Newcastle United for his signature.
Former Southampton and incoming Blues manager Mauricio Pochettino reportedly could play a key role in a deal to sign Ward-Prowse having managed the midfielder during his time as Saints head coach in 2013/14. The Argentine coach is still considered to be a big fan of Ward-Prowse.
Back in 2014, he said:
"In every training session, he gives 100%. He always has an immediate impact in what he does and he is still a player who is growing. He is a figurehead of the sort of player that we are looking for at Southampton."
Pochettino was spot on as Ward-Prowse has gone on to play 420 games in all competitions, playing a whopping 30,493 minutes, as per Transfermarkt.
Ward-Prowse, who is represented by CAA Stellar like Ben Chilwell, is a technically gifted player. The midfielder has been tipped by Nathan Jones to beat David Beckham's record of 18 Premier League goals directly from free-kicks. Ward-Prowse has 17 currently and with his incredibly consistent dead ball technique, it might not be long before he equals the record. Jones waxed lyrical about the player, saying:
"He's been outstanding. When I arrived at the club my first conversation with him was ten minutes after he didn't get picked for the England squad.
"Since that moment, he's been absolutely world-class for me. I'm sure he's going to [beat Beckham's record]. I think he's going to play in the Premier League for a few years yet and the quality isn't going to diminish in any way.
"Unless somebody comes in and cut off his right leg, I think that record is under threat. He's one of the best technicians I've ever seen, the consistency he shows is world-class."
It looks set to be another busy summer at Stamford Bridge, and it seems as if a move for Ward-Prowse could be one to keep an eye on, potentially reuniting him with his former manager in the process.