Just when we all thought the Hammers were about to lose their man, West Ham look to have convinced a vital member of their defensive ranks to sign a new contract.
And no, we don’t mean Winston Reid.
Reports suggest that the east London club are close to agreeing a new long-term contract with the highly sought-after Reece Oxford.
The 16-year-old was rumoured to have been targeted by the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United as he continued to impress for the club’s development squad.
Failure to tie him down could see Sam Allardyce lose the hot prospect for a nominal fee in the summer, but that looks to be on the verge of being averted.
Dubbed the ‘new Rio Ferdinand’, the academy graduate looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
And unlike Ferdinand, whom the Hammers sold to Leeds for £18m in 2000, a period in which they sold off a number of their bright youth prospects, that future now looks to be set in E13.
Oxford has yet to make a senior appearance for West Ham, though was an unused substitute in their Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield United back in August.
He has though captained England at U17 level on two occasions when progressing through the first qualifying round for this year’s European Championships.
Though he may not have the immediate impact of Winston Reid signing a new contract at the club (something looking increasingly unlikely), the long-term implications for the capital club couldn’t be greater.
Alongside Oxford, the club’s academy have a smattering of highly thought of players coming through the ranks.
The likes of winger Oscar Borg (also linked with a move to Manchester United last summer), defender Reece Burke and goalkeeper Sam Howes give Irons fans something to look forward to in the coming years.
But more pressing matters for the club will turn to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, for which Allardyce’s men are 11/5 to escape Wales three points.
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