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If rumours are to be believed, West Ham youngster Reece Oxford is said to be attracting interest from several Premier League clubs with Manchester United one side that have been linked with a summer move for the player.
Oxford exploded onto the scene on the opening day of the season when the Hammers won 2-0 at Arsenal and Oxford, then just 16 years old and barely out of school, had a Premier League debut that was as good as anything we’ve ever seen from a teenager.
He lost possession just once in his 79 minutes on the pitch and displayed an incredible temperament and composure on the ball that defied his tender age. He was the second youngest Premier League starter in history and was suddenly the name on everyone’s lips just one game into the new season.
An unconvincing first half in West Ham’s next game at home Leicester saw Oxford replaced at the break though and Bilic subsequently made the perhaps wise decision to just cool off what had been a dramatic fast-tracking into the first team fold.
One of England’s brightest prospects
Partly due to that but also because of the form of several other West Ham players, Oxford didn’t get much of a look in after that making just 7 more appearances in all competitions however he did skipper West Ham to victory in the Under-21 Premier League Cup despite being several years younger than most of his teammates.
Oxford has also captained England at Under 17 level and is widely thought of as one of English football’s brightest young talents. The Londoner, who started his career on the books of Tottenham is capable of playing as either a centre-back or defensive midfielder and right now it is probably too soon to jump to conclusions about which position will ultimately suit him best.
Clearly, West Ham will be hoping he stays exactly where he is for the foreseeable future and you could make a strong case to suggest that he should do just that. However that won’t stop the big clubs from lurking and if Manchester United are going to get back to their position at the very top of the Premier League pecking order, they need to get back to the days where they would routinely snap up the brightest young English talents.
With Manchester City and Liverpool said to be already considering £10million bids, United may end up having to jump the gun and make a swoop for Oxford, even though it is perhaps too soon for him to be seriously thinking about moving clubs particularly with West Ham in very good shape right now.
Possesses the talent to play at the top level
Oxford is still some way off breaking into the Hammers first team on a regular basis and would be even further down the pecking order at Old Trafford, but he certainly has already displayed that he possesses the raw talent required to make it at the very top level.
Any United bid for Oxford would most likely enrage West Ham fans and perhaps the board, but it would be the best way of finding out just how highly they rate their young star.
Oxford has denied rumours he has rejected a new contract with the East London club but until he puts pen to paper on a long-term deal, there is clearly a window of opportunity there for other clubs to jump in and if the Red Devils are serious about him, they might be wise to at least test West Ham’s resolve with a bid for the player.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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