Arsenal are lining up a £10 million bid for West Ham wonderkid Reece Oxford in the summer, according to The Sun.
The 17-year-old has made eight first-team appearances for the Hammers this season and impressed Arsene Wenger when his side beat the Gunners 2-0 at the Emirates on the opening weekend of the season.
Oxford, who became the second youngest Premier League starter of all time during that match, played 79 minutes and only misplaced one pass during West Ham’s brilliant victory.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay3
He also became West Ham’s youngest ever player a month previously, when he started in a UEFA Europa League first qualifying round tie against FC Lusitanos.
However, the versatile youngster has been used sparingly by Slaven Bilic recently in an attempt to nurture his incredible potential.
Oxford can play as a centre-back or, as West Ham have used him, as a holding midfielder.
It’s reported that Arsenal’s chief scout Steve Rowley is a big fan of Oxford and regularly watched him before he signed a contract at Upton Park in January 2015.
But Oxford’s contract expires in 2018 and the hot prospect hasn’t started a Premier League match since October, giving encouragement to other clubs that he’d be interested in a move away from the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
It’s believed that Manchester United and Manchester City have both scouted Oxford previously but it’s Arsenal who seem the most interested.
West Ham feel that Oxford can play an important role in their team from next campaign.
However, if offers start coming in from the league’s biggest clubs, the club will have have no option but to stave off interest by offering him a bumper new deal or cash in on the youngster.
Oxford has actually played for a north London side before, starting his career at Tottenham.
However, he was released from White Hart Lane in 2011 when he was snapped up with the Irons.
He has also represented England at both Under-16 and Under-17 level. He captained his country at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship where he led the Three Lions to the quarter-finals.
West Ham refused to let him leave the club to play in the Under-17 World Cup in Chile which took place over October and November last year. The club feared it would lead him to be burned out despite not playing him since the tournament ended.
Oxford also won the Dylan Tombides Academy Player of the Year Award last season for his performances in the youth team, which earned him a place in the first-team squad for this current campaign.