Manchester United look set to firm up their interest in a West Ham midfielder this week as they prepare to make a formal bid, according to reports.
The Daily Mail say that Jose Mourinho has identified West Ham midfielder / defender Reece Oxford as one of his first signings he wants to make as Manchester United manager. The manager and club have been watching Oxford for some time, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all also considering making bids.
West Ham and Manchester United are believed to have held preliminary talks over the transfer of the teenager, and now the Hammers are expect a formal offer to arrive this week.
The 17-year-old rose to prominence in the first game of last season, starring in a midfield role as Slaven Bilic’s side beat Arsenal at the Emirates stadium. Despite his man of the match performance in such a big game, Oxford has since been used sparingly and is reportedly frustrated by his lack of first-team exposure.
It had been suggested that Oxford has a £10million asking price, but according to the Daily Mail, United will pay more than that (around £12million) in order to secure the teenager ahead of rival clubs bids.
We’d now normally compare some of Oxford’s stats to current United midfielders, but there would be little point due to Oxford’s lack of first team exposure so far. What we do know is that he has captained a very succesful West Ham under 21 side and that he has proven himself as both a central defender and central midfielder and this may leave it up to Mourinho, should he sign for United, as to where he develops as a player from this point forward.
Considering his ability on the ball and exposure to a central midfield role, you could say Oxford may play well as a ball playing defender. This is why personally, I thought Pep Guardiola may want to take him to Manchester City. Of course Pep would not have seen much of Oxford first hand, but you would expect his scouts might have reccomended him as a potential young reinforcement to a central defensive area that has been problematic at City for some years now.
In terms of where he’d play at United, it is well known that Mourinho wants to sign a first choice defender, although Oxford is unlikely to come straight into the United first team. In midfield there may be more of a chance in the future for Oxford. Both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick are nearing the end of their careers, meaning there could be a route into the first team midfield soon for Oxford, should he join United. I think that would be the more likely position at United, with Mourinho unlikely to put a 17-year-old in a defence that he often builds his teams around.