Arsenal had the chance to sign West Ham starlet Reece Oxford last December, but turned it down before he pledged his future to Upton Park, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The Gunners’ optimism for the new campaign took a serious knock at the weekend as they were humbled 2-0 by West Ham on their own turf. It was Oxford though who surprised most, with the 16-year-old turning in a performance of the highest quality in front of Slaven Bilic’s back four.
After the match Wenger was reluctant to lavish praise on the teenager, and the Telegraph claim that may be because he chose not to sign Oxford mid-way through last season.
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At the time the England U17 international had come to the attention of a host of big Premier League clubs, having impressed at various levels in West Ham’s youth academy.
It wasn’t until this term that Oxford got his chance in the senior side, but if his performance at the Emirates Stadium was anything to go by it certainly won’t be a one off showcase.
Indeed pundits and fans alike were quick to talk up Oxford’s potential, particularly as he did a pristine job with regards to shutting down an Arsenal midfield that is bursting at the seams with star quality.
As was always going to be the case it’s highly unlikely that the Gunners will publicly admit to having rejected the chance to sign Oxford, but if the rumours are true it looks to have been a serious oversight on Wenger’s part.
After all, Arsenal are on the look out for a talented defensive midfielder. Oxford might not yet be up there with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Nemanja Matic, but as far as Premier League debuts go his stock has received a well-earned raise for someone so young.
Arsenal fans, do you think Wenger should have signed Oxford if given the chance? Let us know in the comments box below.