Manager implies Leeds United youngster may have made 'big mistake' amid uncertain future

West Ham United manager David Moyes has implied Leeds United teenager Sonny Perkins may have made a mistake swapping east London for Elland Road amidst the debate surrounding up-and-coming striker Divin Mubama's contract situation.

Mubama is into the final 12 months of his Hammers contract, yet to sign a new deal and could leave at the end of the 2023/24 season, in a similar vein to Perkins whose West Ham stay expired in the summer of 2022.

The Leeds teen joined the Whites on a 'free transfer' upon the expiry of his contract - although United owe the London club a compensation fee, as is customary in transfers involving young players that move for 'free'. Perkins has played a handful of times for the senior side, whilst starring for the Whites' Under-21 setup last term, but this season is out on loan at League One outfit Oxford United where regular minutes have so far been hard to come by.

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"Harrison Ashby and Sonny Perkins are recent examples of young players who left West Ham to try their luck elsewhere," a Press Association report read last week, in relation to Mubama's future.

"Full-back Ashby opted to join Newcastle but did not make a single appearance and is now on loan at Swansea, while forward Perkins moved to Leeds and is now struggling for game time at League One Oxford."

Moyes, meanwhile, was particularly opinionated on the issue. Without naming specific individuals, the Scot suggested other young players who had left West Ham in the recent past have found the grass is not always greener.

“Divin was offered a contract 12 months ago but he’s the one not agreeing to sign a contract,” Moyes said.

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“I feel the best thing for Divin is to sign a contract at West Ham.

“There’s a few boys left here who have made incredibly wrong decisions. They’re in a great environment here. There’s a few who left here and made big mistakes.”

While the Leeds teen is currently experiencing difficulty breaking into the side at his loan club, it is hard to definitively state whether swapping the Hammers for West Yorkshire has been a 'mistake' given Perkins remains contracted at Leeds for another 18 months and does not celebrate his 20th birthday until February.

By his own admission, Moyes says most young players break into the first-team at their clubs at a later stage than Perkins currently appears to be: "What’s the average age of getting into the first team now? My feeling is it’s 21."

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Perkins scored his first goal in professional football during Leeds' 2-2 FA Cup Third Round draw with Cardiff City back in January and was tipped to play a peripheral first-team role following the Whites' relegation to the Championship.

Instead, Daniel Farke opted to send the 19-year-old England youth international out on loan in search of more consistent first-team opportunities but Oxford's early-season form has meant opportunities have been limited. Nevertheless, Perkins recently netted his first goal of the season in the U's 5-0 EFL Trophy win over Chelsea U21.