From the bench at West Ham to the field for Chelsea Under-21s
Reece Oxford has become the fourth player to cross London to Chelsea, with the Blues paying just over £1 million for the services of the 16 year old centre back. John Terry, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole have all previously made very successful moves across the city and Chelsea will hope Oxford can do the same.
Oxford is built similar to John Terry on his arrival, being a tall, slim centre back; however, unlike Terry, Oxford can also play behind the midfield in a holding position. His mental reading of the game is exemplary for his age as well as his leadership, having on occasion been captain of the West Ham Under-21s at the age of 15. His standing within West Ham was evident last season as he regularly trained with the first team and made a number of appearances on the bench as an unused substitute. He was awarded the 'Dylan Tombides Academy Player of the Year' for his performances at Under-21 level.
However, it is unlikely that Oxford will see any gametime this season, with Chelsea boasting an extremely strong centre back department including the aforementioned Terry, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Marc Bartra. However, Jose Mourinho says that the 16 year old will in fact benefit from having such stern competition.
"Reece will be unlikely to play many games this season but the experience ahead of him in the team will be very important for him. John [Terry] can take him under his wing and he'll be playing every game he can in the Under-21s. Reece is a player I can see becoming like John some day." - Jose Mourinho
West Ham fans are understandably upset with the move, citing the low fee as evidence of a lack of backbone at the club as present. 'The Academy of Football', as they are known, has just 2 self-developed players in the first team squad with the majority of the rest spread across the Premier League. Oxford would have been in line to make a senior debut this season and will hope the move to Chelsea pays off like his predecessors' have.