After 11 matches in the 2021-22 League One campaign, Oxford United sit eighth in the table and they probably didn’t want the international break to come when it did.
The U’s had recorded back-to-back wins with a 5-1 drubbing of Accrington Stanley before going to Hillsborough and beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 thanks to a late James Henry strike.
Karl Robinson’s side have momentum now but that could be lost as they have to wait another week to get back on the pitch due to international call-ups.
The time off though may give Robinson and co time to ponder on what they will be doing in a few months time though when the January transfer window opens, so let’s look at some transfer situations the club may find themselves in at the start of 2022.
Attempt to make Holland loan permanent?
After a brief period at the Kassam Stadium in 2020, Nathan Holland returned to the club for a second loan spell instead of staying in West Ham United’s development squad for the season.
Holland didn’t see much game-time for the Hammers under-23’s last season so this season is a good chance for him to experience EFL football again, and despite many of his appearances under Robinson this season coming off the bench he is making an impact.
The 23-year-old scored twice and assisted once in the 5-1 demolition job of Accrington and started again against Sheffield Wednesday, so you can imagine he will retain his place following the international break.
The bigger picture is though that Holland’s contract at the London Stadium expires at the end of the season, so Oxford could theoretically try to do a cut-price deal in January – he still holds some potential and could play in the Championship so if they can get it done it would be a smart piece of business.
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A player once coveted by Real Madrid in his Liverpool days, Cameron Brannagan is now a regular fixture for Oxford in their engine room, having joined the U’s in January 2018.
Brannagan has skippered the club on occasion and was on the scoresheet in their last match against Sheffield Wednesday, but Robinson would probably prefer it if the 25-year-old stays under the limelight.
That’s because there was Championship interest in his signature over the summer, with a ‘significant‘ bid being turned down from Blackpool but if he continues to perform at his current level then there will be a host of teams lining up for him mid-season – what do Oxford do if those bids come?
Let Agyei go?
There’s an undisputed number one striker at the Kassam right now and that is Matty Taylor – even though he’s not exactly firing on all cylinders with just three goals to his name so far.
One man whose chances have been restricted is Daniel Agyei, who is seemingly third in command to Taylor and Sam Winnall but probably deserves more of an opportunity, whether that be at Oxford or elsewhere.
Agyei arrived from Burnley in 2019 and scored just five times in 38 league appearances last season – all but one of his six League One outings this season have been from the bench and you just get the feeling that the 24-year-old could find a better home where he gets regular minutes and Oxford could replace him with someone better.