West Ham’s first bid of £17m plus £3m of add-ons for James Ward Prowse was quickly rejected by Southampton.
Ward-Prowse has made a club-record 343 Premier League appearances for the St Mary’s side, scoring 49 goals, but was unable to help stave off relegation last campaign.
Jason Wilcox, who arrived as director of football in the summer but has been working behind the scenes since January while still a Manchester City employee, confirmed they had rejected a bid. And asked whether West Ham had returned with a second, he responded: “Not as I know, I think when a club makes an offer, very rarely is it their full and final offer. There is a lot of speculation in the media but we’re trying to not get bogged down in all of that – if you start reading every article, supporters and staff, you’d think we won’t have any players.
“It’s football but being transparent and aware that we have asset value and players other clubs want, and players want to go and play in the Premier League.
“Let’s not criticise them for that – I was relegated with Blackburn and I didn’t want to play in the Championship. I made the decision to stay and try and captain them back to the Premier League.”
Wilcox added: “There will always be players who aren’t willing to do that but I don’t think any player at Staplewood is happy we’ve been relegated, they don’t want to play in the Championship. If we get the right offer – we will consider it. Consider is an important word because we don’t have to sell, we’ve got a lot of asset value and it’s about how we rebuild the squad.”
6foot2 understands West Ham are preparing a second bid for James Ward Prowse although the value and breakdown are unknown at this time.