COMMENT By Matt Farr
West Ham are reportedly set to allow young defender Reece Oxford to leave the club on loan this summer.
The Daily Mail claim that the 18-year-old has already flown to Germany to complete a season-long loan move to Borussia Monchengladbach, with a deal between the two clubs in the advanced stages.
Oxford missed the majority of the first-half of the 2016-17 campaign with injury, and was granted a loan move to Championship outfit Reading to build up his fitness and kickstart his development.
However, his move to the Madejski Stadium proved to be nothing but a waste of time for the teenage star, as he found opportunities in the first-team squad severely limited.
He made only five senior appearances for Reading, and his lack of game-time following his lengthy injury spell was costly for his development.
The England Under-20 international has been tipped to become a future star for West Ham, and he has already hinted at a bright future with a series of impressive displays for the club in the Premier League.
But the key to unlocking that sky-high potential is to hand him regular first-team football in a fixed role, and for Oxford that is at centre-back.
Borussia Monchengladbach currently have a vacancy in the position, after Andreas Christensen returned to Chelsea at the end of his two-year loan spell.
Christensen was a first-team regular at the German Bundesliga club, making 82 appearances in all competitions across his spell at the club.
However, it remains to be seen if Oxford will hold as key a role as his Premier League rival next season.
Unless he can be given guarantees of playing football week-in, week-out for his imminent new employers – which he has to earn, of course – the loan moves risks further stunting his development.
A loan move to another Premier League club could have been considered a better bet, as Oxford needs the experience of playing in England’s top tier, which is where his future lies.
Gladbach had Champions League football on offer last term, but their failure to qualify for European competition for the upcoming season deprives Oxford of a chance of testing his abilities on the big-stage.
Therefore, with no guarantees of first-team football, and no European opportunities on offer, West Ham’s decision to let him join the Bundesliga club could horribly backfire.
In other West Ham transfer news, their defender has made a revelation about a potential summer exit.