By Tom Blackburn
Jamie Redknapp has predicted emerging West Ham star Reece Oxford will become as valuable as John Stones in the coming years.
Manchester City completed the signing of Stones from Everton on Tuesday morning for a widely reported fee of £47.5million.
With the new Premier League campaign just around the corner, Redknapp made a list of his top-10 players to watch in the coming season and include the Hammers 17-year-old.
“No 5: Reece Oxford. I might be going one year too early on this kid, but he’s a special talent,” Redknapp wrote in his Mail column. “He has that Rio Ferdinand elegance about him with the ball.
“If John Stones is worth nearly £50m now, Oxford — remember he is still only 17 — can be worth the same to West Ham in three or four years. An England player of the future.
“His manager Slaven Bilic understands centre-back play and will pick his games. We may see more of him in cups and Europe, with occasional Premier League outings. He is a centre back too, not a midfielder. James Tomkins was sold to give Oxford a path to the first team. It was a smart move.”
The Daily Mail claimed at the end of July that Hammers already valued the 17-year-old at £18million due to strong interest from a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester City and Manchester United.
It was also reported by The Sun that scouts from Tottenham watched defender play for England Under-19s against Holland in the European Championships this summer.
The England Under-19 international is understood to currently be involved in a contractual stand-off with the east London side as it is believed that Oxford’s side believe that his salary should reflect his new valuation.
Newly promoted Bundesliga club Red Bull Leipzig have made a bid worth £10million for Oxford that would have seen the youngster net £20,000-a-week, but the offer was rejected by Hammers chief David Sullivan.
Oxford broke into The Hammers’ first team after starting the first game of last season against Arsenal, winning a man-of-the-match in a combative display that even linked him with a call-up to the senior England side.
He made 12 appearances in total for the East London outfit last season and starred in the England Under-19s side which made the semi-finals of this summers Championships in Germany.
In 2015, Oxford won the Dylan Tombides award, which is given to the star player of the youth academy for that year.
The young star still has three years left on his current contract deal, so the Hammers aren’t under any pressure to sell Oxford.
In other West Ham transfer news, they line up an ex-Premier League goal-getter and the player is told he can join.