West Ham manager David Moyes has revealed his disappointment and surprise regarding Jeremy Ngakia's refusal to sign a contract extension with the club.
The 19-year-old had forced his way into the first-team picture this season, making four senior appearances since being handed his debut back in January.
With the season set to resume in the coming weeks, the former Manchester United manager will have been looking to offer further game time to his young star, particularly with the introduction of five substitutes per match.
However, the Scotsman revealed that Ngakia has told him he will not be extending his contract - which currently ends on the 30 June - and thus will leave the club even with fixtures still left to play.
The Hammers' manager, quoted by the Evening Standard, was understandably frustrated by the youngster's decision, and is adamant that Ngakia is making a big mistake.
“We are really surprised and disappointed that Jeremy is not going to stay at West Ham, we like him a lot, we’ve given him his debut and I’m a manager who has done that many times in my career, including Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Jordan Pickford and others," Moyes said.
“Jeremy is another one and I feel he is making a mistake choosing not to stay with us. We’ve trusted him in big games and everyone likes him at the club.
“I also feel it’s a kick in the teeth for the academy, because they have developed a player for the first team and he’s not going to stay. We’re also really disappointed with his decision not to stay beyond June 30."
With the young right-back not wishing to sign a short-term extension in order to be able to finish the season - unlike Liverpool's Adam Lallana - he will be available to be picked up by interested parties; a scenario that Moyes says the Premier League should have dealt with in order to keep things fair.
"I don’t agree with that and I also think it’s something the Premier League should not allow to happen, because it means the season is not starting and finishing in the same way," he added.
“There’s nothing we can do about that, though, and we are still working with him. We like him, we want him to feel he’s been given the best service we can give and maybe there’s still a little hope that we can change his mind.”
With Ngakia turning down a reported offer of £5,000 a week, it remains to be seen which club will swoop in to secure his services for next season.
The Hammers, meanwhile, have turned their own transfer attention to potential defensive reinforcements, and 90min understands they are one of five Premier League clubs keeping tabs on out-of-contract Paris Saint-Germain star Thiago Silva.