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Striker Sonny Perkins is wanted by Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa and Leeds but needs an Oxford education at West Ham

Striker Sonny Perkins is wanted by Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa and Leeds United but needs an Oxford education at West Ham.

Perkins rose to prominence with regular inclusion in the West Ham first team squad last season.

But despite the poor performances of Michail Antonio for much of the second half of the campaign and David Moyes’s lack of options, Perkins was barely used.

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The Guardian has been reporting that West Ham could lose the England youth international with Aston Villa, Leeds United and even rivals Tottenham all vying for his signature this summer.

The news came as something of a shock to West Ham fans. But the interest of the likes of Villa and Leeds was confirmed by insiders speaking exclusively to Claret and Hugh.

According to C&H Perkins has a year left on his current deal. But his agent is reportedly pushing for huge wages at West Ham with the player yet to sign a new Hammers contract.

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The Guardian and journalist Fabrizio Romano claim that Leeds, as well as Aston Villa, have opened talks with the West Ham youngster’s representatives over a move.

Claims about 18-year-old Perkins wanting big money are all too familiar for West Ham fans when it comes to academy stars.

The situation will evoke a sense of deja vu for Hammers fans who witnessed Reece Oxford’s rise from the famous West Ham academy into the first team.

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Striker Sonny Perkins is wanted by Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa and Leeds but needs an Oxford education at West Ham

The world of football has many pitfalls for young players and, as the self-styled Academy, West Ham United know that more than most.

Hammers fans have lost count of the number of exciting talents coming through the academy down the years who never end up fulfilling their potential in the first-team for one reason or another.

Labelled the ‘new Rio Ferdinand’ Oxford went from one of the hottest prospects in European football to the Hammers scrapheap in the space of three seasons.

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And that – we are told – all came down to the club’s decision to give in to the demands of Oxford and his agent and hand the defender big bucks to stay.

Offloaded to the relative obscurity of Augsburg in the Bundesliga, Oxford saw his attitude and motivation questioned.

As Declan Rice said in a recent interview with The Overlap, young players should not even be thinking about big money but rather establishing themselves first knowing that will come.

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If Aston Villa or Leeds – or God forbid Spurs – manage to lure Perkins away it will be a big blow for West Ham who pride themselves on giving top young talent a pathway to first team football.

But if money is a key factor already to the 18-year-old and his representatives perhaps West Ham’s loss won’t necessarily be Gerrard of Jesse Marsch’s gain.

Oxford’s is a cautionary tale for any young player looking to make their way in the Premier League.

Perkins – and indeed Villa and Leeds – should take note.

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