By Harry Sykes
Arsenal rejected the chance to sign West Ham sensation Reece Oxford when he was 16, according to a report.
The Telegraph claim that Arsene Wenger’s high flying side turned down the opportunity to capture the Hammers ace two years ago after keeping close tabs on him.
West Ham announced on their official Twitter account and website on Friday that Oxford had celebrated his 18th birthday by signing a new long-term contract with the club.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) December 16, 2016
The agreement ends speculation about the future of Oxford, who is already an England Under-20 international and is widely regarded as one of the rising stars of English football.
Oxford came through West Ham’s academy and can play in central midfield or central defence, and has already slotted in to both positions for the senior side.
The Telegraph report that the Hammers teenager has been compared to one of the giants of the Premier League era and a West Ham academy graduate Rio Ferdinand due to his playing style and composure on the ball.
Oxford became the youngest West Ham player to appear in the Premier League when he started their opening game of the 2015-16 season and delivered a widely acclaimed performance in a 2-0 win away at Arsenal.
He has subsequently figured only intermittently for Slaven Bilic’s side and has made only two senior appearances this season, both of which came in Europa League qualifiers.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Gunners are braced to lose one of their midfield stars in January.