By Tom Blackburn
West Ham are set to retain the services of youngster Reece Oxford after interest from the Premier League elite, according to a report.
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.
However, Oxford has impressed boss Slaven Bilic during pre-season and he will now be given a regular first-team spot.
Oxford was on the substitute’s bench for West Ham as they were defeated 2-1 by Chelsea in their Premier League opener on Monday night.
“Reece has developed over the summer,” a West Ham club insider told The Sun. “He has been away with England and looks what we have always believed him to be, a player of huge potential.
“It’s obviously down to the manager, but it will be a shock to many if he isn’t a regular first team squad member.
“He will get his chance at the back this season. We are very excited by the potential in the lad.
“There’s no question his progress was a factor in the decision to let James Tomkins go to Crystal Palace.”
The England Under-19 international has reportedly been 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 trasnfer news, two Hammers deals worth £43million grind to a halt.