West Ham youngster Reece Oxford’s name has been bouncing around transfer rumourville since the end of last season, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United poised to bid for the 17-year-old, according to numerous reports.
A prospective fee of £10m seems rather silly in light of the summer so far’s Premier League purchases – for example, Oxford’s unheralded former teammate James Tomkins has moved to Crystal Palace for the same amount.
Twice as much might be enough to land him, with United thought particularly keen, and a case can be made that Oxford would stand as good a chance, if not better, of regular first-team action at Old Trafford than the Olympic Stadium.
New United boss Jose Mourinho desperately needs fresh impetus at centre-half and holding-midfield, the two positions Oxford fills best, with the likes of Daley Blind, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’ futures rumoured to be under review.
Conversely, West Ham seem fairly well set in said spots thanks to sturdy partnerships forming in Slaven Bilic’s first term at the helm in East London.
Winston Reid may have spent much of 2015/16 struggling with injuries, but the New Zealand captain will likely start the coming season as first-choice centre-half next to Italy international Angelo Ogbonna, while James Collins’ fine performances deputising last term landed the 32-year-old a new contract.
There doesn’t seem to be an obvious route to a regular deep-midfield slot for Oxford either, with first-choice pairing Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble complimented by classy back-up Pedro Obiang and now new signing Havard Nordveit, picked up on a free from Borussia Monchengladbach.
With that lot to scythe through before forcing his way into Bilic’s plans regularly, the rookie Londoner may feel he’s better off competing against the likes of Blind, Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and the Red Devils’ £30m new signing Eric Bailly, a centre-half only barely more experienced than Oxford.