West Ham have offered teenage Academy product Reece Oxford a massive deal in a bid to stop the advance of Arsenal and Chelsea on their teenage defender..
It would make the 6ft 3in, ball-playing centre-half, 15, one of the best paid youngsters at the club.
Joint-chairman David Sullivan is frustrated and angry at the situation and told The Mirror: It almost makes you give up on having an academy if they can come in and nick your best 15-year-old. What’s the point?”
Oxford’s talents have been likened to another of the club’s academy graduates, Rio Ferdinand and he has been eyed by Arsenal and Chelsea for some time.
Sullivan added: “Our academy costs just under £4 millionn a year to run. Up until this season you could nick a 15-year-old for about £50,000.
“I think they are going to change it now and there is going to be some retrospective compensation. So you’ll probably get £250,000.
“But for each £4million you get one crop. So you’d have to have 16 players like that to cover the cost of running the academy- and [Oxford] is the best of the crop.
“So its a joke that they can come and nick your best players for £250,000. The big clubs just go to the player. If he refuses to sign a scholarship then they’ll have offered him a guaranteed pro scholarship which we would match.
“But there are a few young players that have been tapped up. There’s nothing you can do about it.
“I would say to any young player at West Ham to stay. Our track record over a 20-year period of producing players is as good as any club.
“Maybe with the exception of Suthampton in recent years. Not many come through from the Arsenal academy these days.
“Chelsea have 44 players out on loan. They are logjammed with players. Tottenham are logjammed with players. There are so many that just can’t get into those teams.
“If you lose someone for a few hundred thousand quid its nothing when the academy costs £4million to run. People want clubs to invest in academies but up to this year you could lose a 14-year-old for just £44,000.”