Nottingham Forest in race to sign midfielder tipped to be world class - report
By Harry Sykes
Nottingham Forest have joined the race to sign Reece Oxford from West Ham, according to a report.
The Mail claim the Championship club are keen to sign Oxford on loan for the remainder of the season and want to push through a deal before Tuesday night’s transfer cut-off.
It is said that Forest have enquired about the West Ham sensation even though they are without a permanent manager.
The interest comes after Sky Sports reported on their website last week that Scottish giants Rangers were in advanced talks with the Premier League club to sign Oxford.
He is fit again after two months out with an ankle injury and the Mail report that Hammers manager Slaven Bilic is willing to loan him out to gain crucial first-team experience.
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The 18-year-old, who can play in central midfield or at centre-back, is on the fringes of the West Ham side and has been an unused substitute in their last three matches but he is yet to see any league action this season.
Oxford is highly rated by West Ham, who recently ended speculation about the teenager’s long-term future by handing him a four-and-a-half-year contract that runs until the summer of 2021.
Bilic has previously stated his belief that Oxford will go on to become a world-beater and it was widely reported that Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal were among the big hitters that kept close tabs him before he penned a new deal in December.
“On paper he has all the abilities to become a world-class player and it is now up to him to train hard and for us to manage him well for him to fulfil it,” said Bilic.
Oxford was the second youngest player to start a Premier League match, and the youngest in West Ham’s history, when he made his competitive debut against Arsenal, aged 16, at the start of last season.
In total, he has made 16 appearances for the east London club, with 14 of them coming in 2015-16.
Forest are being linked with signing Oxford as Aaron Tshibola is reportedly on the verge of joining Nottingham Forest from Aston Villa.
Reliable Telegraph Midlands correspondent John Percy has claimed on his personal Twitter account on Sunday night that the transfer of the 22-year-old central midfielder to Forest is “done”.
Forest are locked in a relegation battle following a string of poor results and are placed 19th in the Championship table, just five points ahead of the drop zone.
Football Insider verdict:
Oxford has a big decision to make. Move to Glasgow and player in front of 40,000-plus crowds every other week for a club who cannot win the league or be relegated. Or move to Forest, who have an erratic owner and are in the midst of a relegation battle. Both clubs should be able to provide him with plenty of game time and enable him to develop against senior professionals week in, week out. Wherever he goes, the teen sensation would get invaluable experience.
In other Nottingham Forest transfer news, the club have lined up a stunning late January triple swoop.