Slaven Bilic looks set to become the new manager of West Bromwich Albion, and the Croatian boss could be set to bring one of his former players to the club upon his arrival at The Hawthorns.
West Ham United defender Reece Oxford looks set to miss out on a move back to German side Augsburg, with a switch to the West Midlands now believed to be on the cards for the 20-year-old.
The versatile defender will be a player that Bilic knows particularly well from his time at the London Stadium, and has flourished at times on loan in the Bundesliga.
Here, FLW writer George Harbey discusses this potential transfer deal in today’s six-pointer…
Firstly, what have you made of Reece Oxford over the last few seasons?
“It has been a rocky few seasons for Oxford, who has spent time on loan with two German sides over the last three years.
“He hasn’t really received the game-time that he would have liked for Monchengladbach and Augsburg, but whenever he’s played, he has been impressive in defence.
“He needs a place to settle permanently, and West Brom could be that club.”
Surprised to see him not be given a chance at West Ham?
“I am quite surprised really, but it does make you wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes.
“Oxford was once regarded as one of the most promising players in the country, but his career has somewhat stagnated for whatever reason.
“The likes of Declan Rice and Grady Diangana have all been given the chance to impress in the first-team since coming through the youth ranks, but it just hasn’t worked out for Oxford at the London Stadium.”
With that being said, is a switch to West Brom the right move for him?
“It’s written in the stars for him to do well under Bilic in my view.
“Bilic is a man that will know all about Oxford – he’ll know how to get the best out of him, and he was the manager to first give him a chance in the first-team.
“He will be a regular for them, and an arm around the shoulder is probably all he needs.”
Do they need to strengthen their defensive options this summer?
“It’s definitely an area they need to strengthen, with Tosin Adarabioyo and Mason Holgate returning their respective parent clubs this summer.
“Oxford will thrive in the three-man defence, should Bilic go with that system of course.
“He can also play in defensive midfield though, meaning that he could be a very useful option for the Baggies.”
The transfer fee is rumoured to be £2million – good business?
“I think it’s certainly worth the risk, £2million is hardly a lot of money to clubs in the Championship nowadays.
“I think people forget how much potential Oxford had a few years ago, and he really impressed during the early stages of his West Ham career.
“This could prove to be an absolute bargain in years to come.”
Finally, how do you think West Brom will do under Bilic in general?
“It’s a difficult one for me.
“Bilic is obviously a manager with a lot of pedigree, and he would be one of the better managers in the Championship for sure.
“His time in England came to a somewhat bitter end with West Ham, but West Brom is the perfect place for him to rejuvenate his managerial career in my view.”