West Ham United have been linked with the Brazilian but could it prevent the Hammers youngster from belatedly breaking through?

If Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo is to be believed, West Ham United are planning a summer swoop for Barcelona centre-back Marlon Santos, but what could that mean for a current Hammers player desperate for a belated breakthrough?

Reece Oxford looked to have made his mark when he was only 16, starring in a Premier League victory against Arsenal and reinforcing the old adage about youth and talent. However, fast-forward a few years and the now-19-year-old is seemingly no nearer the West Ham first-team, spending this season on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach but managing only eight senior outings in the process.

The appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as new Hammers boss gives Oxford a new man to impress but, despite confirming his return to London at the end of his stint in the Bundesliga, the teenager is likely to be keeping a close eye on the gossip columns in the months ahead.

At just 22, Marlon is an exciting and talented centre-back in his own right, as his successful loan spell at Nice emphatically proved and, were he to arrive at the London Stadium, he could be the latest roadblock in Oxford’s path towards first-team recognition.

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With Declan Rice excelling this season and Marlon so young, a move for the latter could be the decision that ultimately ends Oxford’s stay at West Ham.

Conversely he could see it as the challenge to prove his worth to Pellegrini and ensure he remains at the Hammers for years to come.

Whatever happens, expect it to be a very interesting summer for West Ham’s players and fans alike.

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