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Slaven Bilic reveals West Ham have opened talks with £18m-rated defender

By Will Butcher

Slaven Bilic has revealed West Ham have opened talks with Reece Oxford about tying him to new contract.

Manager Slaven Bilic believes that the England Under-19 international can follow previous Hammers’ academy graduates products Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick in lighting up the club if he continues to develop at the club.

The Daily Mail claimed this week that the Hammers are trying to secure a new deal for the 17-year-old defender but have struggled to reach an agreement.

Former Croatia and Besiktas manager Bilic is convinced that it would be for the good of Oxford’s career if he stayed in East London beyond his current contract, which expires in 2018.

“I think it would be better for his career,” Bilic said, as quoted by the Daily Star. “I know his representatives are talking to the club and hopefully it will be sorted soon, in a good way.

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“Rio Ferdinand plays in his position, very similar stature. Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe, Michael Carrick; a few examples of players who had great careers who started at West Ham.”

The Mail reported in July that West Ham had placed an £18million price tag on Oxford after interest from the Premier League elite, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all reportedly interested.

Slaven Bilic is expected to use Oxford this season in his first team set-up and he was an unused substitute in four of the club’s first five Premier League games.

He did make two appearances for West Ham in the Europa League qualifiers but they were eliminated from the competition by Astra Giurgiu.

Oxford has made 16 senior appearances for West Ham and will now hope to emulate fellow former graduate Rio Ferdinand.

In other West Ham transfer news, their new striker agreed a deal with a Serie A club before joining the Hammers.