By Emma Sanders

West Ham are one of a number of English clubs who are monitoring the progress of James Cowan with a view to signing him in January, according to a report.

The Mirror claim West Ham are hoping to sign the 18-year-old despite interest from Derby County and Oxford City as it is believed Dundee United are ready to sell.

Cowan is an academy star for the Scottish Premiership club and has demonstrated great potential but the club are willing to let him go if they receive a reasonable fee.

The Hammers have struggled to make an impact on the Premier League this season and currently sit in 17th place in the league table after they were hit by two late goals against Tottenham on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Dundee star is one of the most highly-rated young central midfielders in Scotland and Slaven Bilic is believed to have shown an interest in the hope of adding to his injury-hit squad.

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Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have been out of action for most of the season, while loan duo Simon Zaza and Jonathan Calleri have been disappointing since joining in the summer.

Cowan currently plays for United’s development side and is contracted with the club until 2018.

Football Insider verdict:

The youngster is inexperienced and it would be unlikely he would go straight into West Ham’s first team squad. If Bilic is looking to add reinforcements in January, he will need to find experienced, senior players to fill the void left by the injured players and the under-performing loan stars. However, the 18-year-old has clearly caught the eye and has demonstrated enough quality to attract attention from clubs in the Premier League and the Championship so he may be an exciting addition for the future if the Hammers can bag him for a reasonable fee.

In other West Ham news, Alan Shearer has delivered this damning verdict on Christian Eriksen after Tottenham’s 3-2 victory against the Hammers.