Lucas Paqueta may find it impossible to turn down Manchester City, but a former Premier League star believes James Ward-Prowse will score more goals and assists for West Ham United than the Brazilian anyway.
He certainly needed some time to take off in claret and blue. But in the closing months of the 2022/23 season, West Ham fans saw exactly why Lucas Paqueta was one of the first names on Brazil’s squad list at the World Cup in Qatar.
Why the Hammers invested a £51m transfer fee to add a player from Lyon and AC Milan to their CV.
In terms of raw skill and pure aesthetics, the more artisanal James Ward-Prowse doesn’t come close to a player who could soon follow Declan Rice out the door; tuttomercatoweb Man City are reportedly preparing a £70m bid for Paqueta.
But former England, Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy still thinks Southampton captain Ward-Prowse could be an upgrade for Paqueta. At least from a statistical point of view.
Lucas Paqueta out, James Ward-Prowse in
“Ward-Prowse will score more goals than Paqueta. He’ll give you five free-kicks and give you more assists than Paqueta,” Murphy said talkSPORT (9 Aug, 10:40 a.m.).
“He has played various roles for Southampton. As he continued to play forward, he scored goals.
“He’s so good technically. And if he’s anywhere near the penalty area, he’ll score goals. I’m not saying he’s a better all-around player (than Paqueta), but he’ll score more goals.”
Ward-Prowse scored 11 goals and assisted five more last season despite Southampton bottoming out in the Premier League table. Paqueta, meanwhile, ended his debut season in English football with five goals and seven assists.
However, those numbers could skyrocket in a Man City side that dominate possession under Pep Guardiola and create chances at will.
“I’m sure the club (West Ham) don’t want to sell him (Paqueta),” adds Murphy. “But if Man City is there, you’re gone.”
Accordingly the athlete, West Haa agreed to a £30million fee for Ward-Prowse on Wednesday. Harry Maguire is also on his way to the London stadium.
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