Reece Burke snubs the big guns to sign for Hammers.
In-demand teenage sensation, has overlooked the flirtations of English top clubs to sign his first professional contract elsewhere.
18 year old defender, Reece Burke whose talent has been widely recognized as possessing great potential, had been hotly monitored by the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, with the possibility of acquiring him. However, West Ham have swiftly reacted quickly to fend off the financial might of the big guns to offer the youngster his first professional contract, keeping him in the club for the long term.
Burke was evidently quite delighted with his new status as a professional footballer, which he regards to be “a great achievement”, even stating it is still more a good feeling that he has done it with “a big club”. While that is surely not a dig at the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, it shows more how important it has become for him to fully arrive on the pro-cadre of football, after gaining impressive reviews as an amateur only playing to impress.
He has indeed had moments to make an impression with the first team before this monumental period of his life, having made his debut in January in what was an FA Cup rout by Nottingham Forest which saw a significantly inexperienced West Ham side disposed. The disappointment of that particular outing did not put Sam Allardayce on any pressure to play the youngster anytime soon as his only other first team engagement was in this season’s League Cup tie with Sheffield United. Burke played every tense and tiring moment of the 120minutes of normal time, after which the Hammers’ eventually crashed out on penalties. These defeats, though, have not told the whole story about Burke’s abilities, and hence the award of a professional contract doesn’t come as a mock-reward but a true authentication of the potential of the young defender.
Burke is part of a host of youngsters at West Ham attracting interest from top clubs in England, with the likes of Reece Chambers, Reece Oxford (NOTE: NOT brothers!) and Oscar Borg also being monitored. Arsenal had already captured one of these emerging prodigies from East London, Ben Sheaf, and it was thought that Burke would be lured away in like manner. Any future interest will now have to be placed on hold as West Ham have moved to secure him as part of their future.
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