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Manchester United up the ante in race to sign ‘new Rio Ferdinand’

| 18.01.2016

Manchester United are reported to have upped their interest in West Ham’s promising defender Reece Oxford.

United are long-time admirers of the 17-year-old who has drawn comparisons with Hammers alumni Rio Ferdinand

The Red Devils have been monitoring the progress of the teenager in the hope that he would continue to develop at Upton Park but with Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool also alerted to the youngster’s ability a move is now being mooted before the transfer window slams shut in just under two weeks’ time.

Oxford is indeed in high demand with Fulham fronting a queue of Championship clubs hoping to land the teen on loan but the chance to emulate Ferdinand is said to have put United in pole position.

The London-born youngster is already 6ft 3in and cut a commanding figure when captaining England’s U17s at the European Championships.

However, despite putting in a solid display against Arsenal in August, a game in which he kept Mesut Ozil unusually quiet, Irons boss Slaven Bilic has afforded Oxford just four league appearances this term.

Louis van Gaal’s reputation for putting faith in youth – with the likes of Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Anthony Martial just a few of the names to have been relied upon at Old Trafford this year – could also play a major part in Oxford’s decision and with Chris Smalling flourishing in recent season a move to the north-west could also have positive implication for England.

United have kept 11 clean sheets so far this season and will attempt to make it 12 when they take on Southampton this weekend, a game for which the Red Devils are priced as 17/20 favourites.

Another clean sheet can be backed at 11/10 and another resolute performance at the back could well convince Oxford that Old Trafford is the best place for him to further his career.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.