According to The Northern Echo, Championship side Middlesbrough are looking to bring former West Ham youngster Reece Oxford to the Riverside Stadium in a loan deal from his parent club FC Augsburg.
The Teessiders have already landed Lukas Nmecha and Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City this month to augment their attack, while Dejan Stojanovic replaced Darren Randolph in goal as he moved back to West Ham United. Manager Jonathan Woodgate is now looking to bolster his defence ahead of the last quarter of the campaign, with Boro in 17th place, 11 points off a play-off spot and 10 clear of the relegation zone. Bookies reckon that they are likelier to get relegated than reach the playoffs, with odds of 23.00 on the former and 51.00 on the latter. Both are quite unlikely, though, and Boro will most probably end up in mid-table. There is a list of all bookmakers offers for fans wanting to play in any of these markets.
Boro’s resurgence was halted with a 1-0 loss to Fulham; they had won four of their last five Championship games to try and ignite a push up the table. Woodgate’s side are stricken with defensive injuries, and three games in six days only served to exacerbate those issues.
Reece Oxford, on the other hand, has not featured as much as he would have hoped after having made a permanent switch to the Bundesliga in the summer. He has only made eight appearances so far with just two starts, sparking speculation about his future at Augsburg. That he has done so while Augsburg are just six points clear of the relegation play-off spot speaks volumes of his standing at the club. Some bookmakers still have the club at 16/1 for relegation, showing that they are still not out of the woods. They’ve lost their last three games in the league, and yet are at 11/10 to win their next Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen, who only have one win in their last five games and are in 17th place, five points behind Augsburg. This is quite the fall from grace for the former West Ham academy graduate, who made his first-team debut for the Hammers aged 16 and was tipped for big things, but left the London Stadium having made only 17 appearances.
Dutch side VVV-Venlo are also apparently interested in his services, but Woodgate will hope that a return to England, albeit temporary, will be more attractive for the former England U-20 international. Boro have conceded 35 goals in their 27 games so far this season, which is not too bad but needs improving, especially with their injury problems. While Paddy McNair and Jonny Howson have done a decent job in defence, Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala and George Friend are all injured, with Woodgate not having any cover for them.
Woodgate has also shown his ability to get the best out of the young players at his disposal, with academy graduates Aynsley Pears, Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson all making a mark this season. While Oxford’s career may have stalled somewhat, the 21-year-old is a fine defender with a lot of potential, and in a former centre-back in Woodgate, he potentially has the best person to learn the trade from. Middlesbrough certainly need the squad depth, the lack of which was exposed at Craven Cottage, and Oxford could do with more playing time, as well as learning from an experienced international centre-back. This transfer would be a win-win for all parties.