By Football Insider speaking to Kevin Campbell

28th May, 2020 | 6:57pm

'This is a problem' - Exclusive: Bruce reacts as West Ham first teamer rejects contract

Alex Bruce has suggested West Ham could offer Jeremy Ngakia a staggered contract deal to overcome the standoff in negotiations.

The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits the Irons find themselves in a sticky situation with the defensive whizzkid.

The Daily Mail report that the 19-year-old, whose current terms expire this summer, has turned down a £5,000-a-week, one-year contract offer and is holding out for a longer, £20,000-a-week deal.

Ngakia made his Hammers debut in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool back in January and has gone on to make three more starts for the club.

Bruce admits it would be a risk to bow to the youngster’s demands and suggests offering an incentive-based deal could be a solution to the issue.

Bruce told Football Insider: “This is a problem I think a lot of young lads and a lot clubs like West Ham have in the Premier League.

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“You seem to have a couple of young lads who make three or four appearances and then automatically think they deserve £20-30,000-a-week when they’re putting up demands.

“For me I think it’s a little bit risky giving such a young player such a high contract – maybe they could stagger it where he gets his money based on appearances and whatever.

“But if you don’t give them what they want, you fear the fact they might just see their contract out and you face losing them to someone else who is willing to give them the money. It’s a risky one.”

Ngakia played the full 90 minutes of West Ham’s last three Premier League games before the lockdown, with Pablo Zabaleta and Ryan Fredericks both missing through injury.

Born in London, the teenager has come through the youth ranks at the London Stadium after joining the club as a 14-year-old.

In other West Ham news, the Irons have been tipped to sign a player with a house next to the training ground.