By Pete O'Rourke

17th Jan, 2020 | 2:25pm

Exclusive: Middlesbrough set sights on signing centre-back, hopeful of 19/20 green light

Middlesbrough are plotting a move to sign former West Ham defender Reece Oxford on loan, Football Insider understands.

Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate is looking to strengthen his options at centre-back and Augsburg’s Oxford is on his list of targets.

A Boro source has told Football Insider that the club believe the 21-year-old can be prised from the Bundesliga’s 10th-placed club by the end of this month and are hopeful of the green light for a temporary deal.

Dutch side VVV Venlo are also interested in taking Oxford on loan during this month’s transfer window.

But Middlesbrough are hoping to lure him back to England with the possibility of a regular place in Woodgate’s improving team.

Boro have held a long-term interest in Oxford and considered signing him last summer before he joined Augsburg.

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Oxford spent the second half of last season on loan at the German before making the move permanent last summer.

The England Under-20 international has struggled for regular game time at Augsburg this season.

He has made just eight appearances in the Bundesliga with only two of those as a starter.

The 6ft 3in centre-back, who can also play in midfield, would provide a versatile option to Woodgate side as they look to build on their recent good run of form and make a late push for the play-offs.

He burst onto the scene as a teenager at West Ham, becoming the club’s youngest first team player when he made his debut in the Europa League in 2015 at 16 years and 198 days, before making his Premier League debut against Arsenal the following month.

Oxford made 17 first team appearances in all for the Hammers and he previously had loan spells at Reading and Borussia Monchengladbach before heading to Germany.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a sensational move to sign bona fide Premier League star in the last week of the window.