Manchester United are among a host of clubs vying for the signature of West Ham’s teenage defender Reece Oxford.
The 15-year-old captained England U17s in the summer and made the bench of the Irons’ Capital One cup loss at Sheffield United in September but has stalled on talks over a permanent deal in east London.
This has alerted a host of top Premier League clubs, with United said to be battling neighbours Manchester City and league leaders Chelsea for the youngster’s signature.
However, after losing to City for the fourth time in a row, United boss Louis van Gaal should be setting his sights on players with much more experience.
Oxford is highly rated, young and English and this makes him a tempting prospect of course, but with home grown players like Paddy McNair, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling already in the squad Van Gaal can well afford to splash the cash on an experienced foreign import to help mould such talent.
McNair was left wanting when Sergio Aguero pounced in the 63rd minute at the Etihad but while the youngster didn’t cover himself in glory the blame lies at the feet of Smalling.
The England centre back saw red for two bookings, both of which were avoidable, the first for blocking Joe Hart’s attempts to clear the ball and the second for a reckless lunge on James Milner.
At this stage in his career, Smalling should have the nous to avoid such situations and his lacking in this department highlights why United are in much bigger need of a quick fix than adding to their bank of ones for the future.
The Old Trafford club have been linked with the likes of Mats Hummels, Diego Godin and Ron Vlaar, while former youth player Ryan Shawcross has also been mooted for a return.
West Ham’s Oxford may well go on to be as good as any of these players but after losing to City at the weekend, to record their worst start to a league campaign in 28 years, United cannot afford to wait that long to find out.
If the Dutchman wants either of those prices to shorten in the coming months a solid transfer window, with new defensive arrivals is a must!
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