Arsenal leading race to sign Reece Oxford

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ready to step up interest in West Ham United wonderkid Reece Oxford amid rival interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

That is according to the Daily Star, who cite a report in The Mirror that claims Wenger sent top Arsenal scouts to watch Oxford play for West Ham's reserve clash with Sunderland on Monday and is primed to table a formal offer for the 15-year-old despite objections in East London.

West Ham are desperate to see Oxford graduate to the first-team and have even offered a player widely compared to a young Rio Ferdinand a bumper professional contract, but that hasn't stopped Arsenal moving forwards with plans to snare the promising youngster.

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West Ham are well aware that Arsenal and a host of other clubs are watching Oxford very closely, a commanding young centre-back who has been capped consistently be England at youth level to widespread acclaim.

Wenger has already been persuaded by Arsenal scouts to take one academy stand-out form West Ham in Ben Sheaf and now wants another, but there's far tougher competition for a player in Oxford with bags of raw potential.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce clearly agrees and has reportedly sanctioned the club to offer Oxford one of the biggest contracts possible for a player in his age group, but is yet to receive a formal response.

Unfortunately for Allardyce he may well be frustrated in his attempts to keep Oxford, thanks to Wenger's proven track record of harnessing young talent.

Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere are just a trio of the top stars that can attest to Wenger giving the youngsters the platform to improve, a path Oxford could well choose to follow.

Chelsea and United remain hopeful they are attractive alternatives, but for now Oxford's long-term future remains undecided and speculation will only grow the longer contract talks with West Ham drag on.

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