West Ham United have had their fair share of talented youngsters over the years and Reece Oxford is no exception.
Oxford shot to prominence when he made his debut with a midfield masterclass in a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates in the opening game of the 2015/16 season aged just 16.
He has found game time hard to come by since. Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and now Manuel Pellegrini have all been reluctant to use him.
That’s despite his new manager showing he trusts in youth.
Pellegrini trusts in youth so what’s the problem with Oxford?
Issa Diop, Grady Diangana and Declan Rice are three of the first names on the Chilean’s teamsheet.
Oxford, once coveted by some of the top clubs in Europe, has told The Sunday Times he wants to leave if he is not in Pellegrini’s plans.
“I sit on the settee and feel angry,” Oxford told the Sunday Times.
“I don’t want to be there – I want to be on the pitch, playing against these big teams. I’ve just got to find my way. Things can change round at West Ham in a week. I think (Manuel) Pellegrini believes if you are training hard you can get in, and I look at Grady (Diangana). He’s kicking on now and I want that to be me.
‘I’ve got to move on and part ways’
“The club has done a lot for me. Given me my debut, made me the player I am. I could never talk down the club but right now I need to be playing and if West Ham are not playing me, I’ve got to move on and part ways.”
It is clear West Ham won’t be using Oxford anytime soon.
But they should be wary of letting a player of such potential leave permanently.
Instead they should seek out a loan move to Aston Villa who worked wonders for resurgent Hammer Robert Snodgrass.
Villa worked wonders for Snodgrass can they do it again for Oxford?
Six months on loan at Villa Park would help accelerate his football education and like Snodgrass the youngster could return to East London an even better and matured player.
The move would be perfect for all parties, the player, West Ham and Villa.
Dean Smith has a great track record of developing youth.
He would get more game time in the Championship where two games per week is the norm.
And the great thing about Villa is the fact they are very similar to West Ham in that they have a loyal and passionate fanbase, who aren’t afraid to let their teams know when they’re not giving 100%.
With the pressure to be promoted, Villa would offer Oxford a steep learning curve which can only be of benefit to his long-term future.
If he failed there then West Ham would have peace of mind that they gave him every chance if they were to move him on permanently in the summer.