Southampton in pole position to beat Leeds to Downes deal after late talks

By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

11th Aug, 2023 | 8:33am

Sources: Southampton in pole position to beat Leeds to Flynn Downes deal after late talks

Southampton are in pole position to sign West Ham midfielder Flynn Downes, sources have told Football Insider.

The Saints were in talks late on Thursday to land the 24-year-old after accepting the Hammers’ bid for James Ward-Prowse.

Downes could now head the other way in a new twist to the deal that emerged on Thursday (10 August).

Football Insider revealed that Southampton, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace had all registered their interest in Downes.

But the south coast club lead the way and are now primed to land the midfielder in the final weeks of the window.

The 24-year-old will be pushed down the pecking order at the London Stadium due to the arrivals of Edson Alvarez and Ward-Prowse.

He made 35 appearances across all competitions in his first season as an Irons player, starting in 15 of those outings.

A large portion of that involvement came in the Europa Conference League as David Moyes’ side famously lifted the trophy to earn Europa League qualification.

Downes cost West Ham a reported fee of £12million last summer (2022) – when he signed a five-year deal at the London Stadium after arriving from Swansea.

The midfielder has racked up almost 150 games in the EFL during spells with Luton, Ipswich and the Swans.

He has the chance to reunite with former boss Russell Martin at St Mary’s Stadium with Southampton on the hunt for promotion back to the Premier League.

Downes racked up 39 games across all competitions under Martin at Swansea in the 2021-22 campaign.

Southampton play their second Championship game against Norwich City on Saturday (12 August) – while West Ham take on Bournemouth in their season-opener.

The Irons have sold Declan Rice for a British-record fee this summer – and made Alvarez their first capture of the window on Thursday (10 August).

In other news, Everton in talks to sign Southampton star man.