Arsenal hero Paul Merson urges Mikel Arteta to sign James Ward-Prowse | Soccer

James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse is being chased by West Ham (Image: Getty)

Paul Merson pushed Arsenal join race to sign Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse

The 27-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to West Ham this summer after scoring 10 goals in 36 league games for the Saints last season.

The Gunners are looking to sign a central midfielder to cover Thomas Partey and are reportedly eyeing a move for Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans for a fee in the region of £25m after agreeing a deal for Porto star Fabio Vieira .

However, Merson – the former Arsenal winger – believes his old side should target Ward-Prowse, who has “such a good passing range”.

In his Daily Star column he wrote: “Arsenal cannot allow West Ham to buy James Ward-Prowse. I think it’s a great signing for anyone who gets it.

“I think he’s one of the best passers in England. He and Trent Alexander-Arnold see things few other England players do and they can spray it across the pitch because they have such good passing range.

Youri Tielemans

Arsenal reportedly want to sign Youri Tielemans from Leicester City (Image: Getty)

“I don’t understand why Arsenal aren’t pulling out all the stops to try and land James Ward-Prowse from Southampton.

‘Arsenal need to buy experience and they would buy an experienced England international who knows the Premier League and would make a huge difference to them.

“They are clamoring for a player who can spray the ball around from the middle of the field. You’ve got plenty that can play nice, one-touch, tippy-tappy things, but nobody that can change the game or play a killer ball over the top.

Southampton’s hefty asking price – thought to be £60m – could deter Arsenal from pursuing Ward-Prowse.

On Friday, Porto announced that attacking midfielder Vieira would join the Gunners for a fee of around £34million.

It’s reported that Vieira’s arrival won’t affect the club’s search for a central midfielder as Mikel Arteta looks to expand his squad ahead of next season.

However, the Spaniard has revealed he will have to manage his resources this summer after the club failed to qualify for the Champions League.

MORE : Arsenal fitness coach Shad Forsythe joins Borussia Dortmund

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Arsenal FC Arsenal hero Paul Merson urges Mikel Arteta to sign James Ward-Prowse | Soccer

Nate Jones

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