Date: 18th June 2016 at 7:08am
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By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Newcastle have joined the race to sign West Ham teen sensation Reece Oxford, according to a report.

The Sun claim the relegated club are convinced they can persuade the highly rated defender to drop a division in order to play regular first-team football.

Oxford has attracted the attention of a number of leading Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal, since breaking into the Hammers team at the start of the 2015-16 season.

The Sun reported that Manchester United have have submitted a bid worth up to £15million for 17-year-old Oxford.

Newcastle are ready to join the bidding by offering a regular playing slot and the chance to inspire the team’s instant return to the Premier League next season following their relegation.

Nevertheless, it would be regarded as a shock if Newcastle were to sign such a highly rated English player ahead of clubs able to offer top flight football.

It has been reported that the promising defender has already rejected a new bumper deal from the Hammers worth £12,000-a-week in wages.

Oxford captained West Ham’s Under-21s side to Premier League Cup glory this campaign and was the star of the show when the Hammers beat Arsenal on the opening day of this season, but subsequently struggled to hold down a regular spot in the first team.

The youngster still has two more years to run on his current contract at West Ham and United’s initial offer is said to be £10million rising to a potential £15million if the defender meets certain performance related expectations at Old Trafford.

The centre-back is reportedly unhappy with the amount of playing time he received from the Hammers and his agent Aidy Ward, the same man who handles Raheem Sterling’s affairs, has been pushing for a better deal.

In other Newcastle news, Italian club Roma have stepped up their pursuit of Georginio Wijnaldum and are willing to meet the Magpies’ staggering asking price.