West Ham's Reece Oxford a target for Manchester City - sources

Manchester City are stepping up their interest in West Ham United's Reece Oxford, sources have told ESPN FC.

Oxford became West Ham's youngest ever player earlier this season when he made his debut, aged 16 years and 198 days, in the Europa League qualifying tie with FC Lusitanos in July.

The following month, he faced Arsenal, becoming the second youngest player to start a Premier League game, at 16 years and 237 days.

Oxford, who can play in central defence or as a defensive midfielder, has made a total of nine appearances for West Ham this season, but his recent outings have been restricted to late cameos from the bench.

Sources have told ESPN FC that while Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been keeping tabs on the England under-17 international, City are determined to steal a march on their rivals, although West Ham are currently reluctant to sell.

City are keen to bring the best young talent to the club to stay ahead of their rivals and boost their home-grown quota as they prepare for life next season under incoming new manager Pep Guardiola.

City have made no secret of their desire to begin developing their own players, having launched the City Football Academy at a cost of around £200 million in December 2014.

However, ESPN FC was told earlier this month that a number of youngsters at the club are stalling on signing scholarship deals as they fear their pathway to first-team football at the club will be blocked.