Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl says the club are still in discussions with West Ham United regarding defender Reece Oxford and hopes that the former loanee does not have his head turned by another club over the coming weeks.
Oxford, 19, was recalled early from his season-long spell in the Bundesliga during the winter break after Gladbach attempted to seal a full-time £10m ($13.5m) agreement that would have seen them ward off interest from domestic rivals RB Leipzig, whom the BBC claimed were ready to offer an initial £8m fee for the centre-back that could have risen to as much as £17m with add-ons.
West Ham manager David Moyes made a point of saying that he was not keen on selling his most talented youngsters and insisted that Oxford, who failed to impress during a stint at Reading last term that came hot on the heels of a four-and-a-half year contract extension, simply was not playing enough in Germany for his liking.
Gladbach have evidently not given up hope of securing a permanent return for a player who made just four senior appearances during his five-month stint in North Rhine-Westphalia and did not feature for his parent club in their goalless FA Cup third-round draw at Shrewsbury Town on Sunday (7 January) due to a knock suffered in training.
"We spoke to West Ham a lot in the winter break and we were surprised when they decided to trigger the clause to recall him," Eberl told the club's official website. "The tone of the discussions before that had been slightly different.
"But I understand their intentions - West Ham are in a fight to stay up and they wanted to bring back a really good player to help them. However he hasn't featured for them since being recalled so we are continuing to have talks with the club.
"I hope that no other club comes in and makes him an offer to turn his head. As long as that doesn't happen, we have the chance of bringing Reece back to Gladbach. He developed brilliantly in the five months he was with us. He had to wait for his chance but when he got it, he took his opportunity impressively."
West Ham have yet to sanction any incomings or outgoings in the early stages of the January window as they seek to redress an imbalanced squad for a Premier League relegation scrap, yet it is believed that Moyes is targeting up to six additions before the end of the month.
Upgrades in central midfield appear a particular priority, though The Sun claim that a low opening offer of £5m for Republic of Ireland Harry Arter has been rejected by Bournemouth. It has been rumoured elsewhere that a £12m deal for Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey is edging ever closer despite Rafael Benitez unwillingness to strengthen a bottom-half rival.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has denied that Arsenal have held discussions with West Ham over Francis Coquelin. According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Moyes has joined former employers Manchester United in the race for Leander Dendoncker, though Anderlecht's financial demands of more than €20m this winter or €38m in the summer are likely to prove a stumbling block.