West Ham have been able to perform a seemingly notable coup after convincing coveted teenager Reece Burke to sign a professional contract amid supposed interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United no less.
Burke is one of an exciting new crop of youngsters to have come through the fabled West Ham academy, and his performances in the youth ranks have led to interest from some of England’s most renowned clubs.
But it is at the Boleyn Ground where the 18-year-old defender will play his trade for the time being at least, as West Ham were able to fend off interest and tie Burke to pro terms - a deal he is delighted to have signed.
"It's a great achievement for me,” Burke told West Ham TV. “My first professional contract for the Club and to sign for a great Club like this is really good.
"I started off pre-season away with the first team and obviously did quite well there, came back, scored my first debut goal and have just carried on from there.
“I’m doing well, and I'm just glad it's come to this."
Burke has already made two first team appearances for Sam Allardyce’s senior side, although his debut in January was something to forget as an inexperienced West Ham team were thrashed 5-0 by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.
He featured regularly during pre-season, scoring a last minute winner against Sampdoria, while he played for the entire 120 minutes when West Ham met Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup, a game they lost on penalties.
Links with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United haver persisted for some time but, for now, he will remain in east London under the stewardship of Allardyce rather than that of Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho or Louis van Gaal.
West Ham will now he hoping two more of their in-demand teenagers, Reece Oxford and Oscar Borg, follow their colleague and put pen to paper. Oxford has been watched extensively by Arsenal, while Borg had a trial period with Manchester United this summer.
It is now down to West Ham to convince this pair that Upton Park remains the best place for them to further their respective educations.
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