After falling short in League One’s play-offs last year at the semi-final stage to Blackpool, Oxford United are trying to put together a squad capable of securing promotion to the Championship for the first time since 1999.
The U’s will have to do it the hard way though as they have lost two key players from last season’s squad in the form of Josh Ruffels and Robert Atkinson, who have both headed to the Championship and have yet to be replaced.
Karl Robinson may have the former’s replacement lined up though from the latest rumours coming out of the Kassam Stadium – let’s round-up the incoming and outgoing news from the club as we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 season.
Ruffels replacement targeted
Oxford could not keep Josh Ruffels after he let his contract run down this summer, with the 27-year-old opting to sign for Carlos Corberan and Huddersfield Town in the league above.
Considering Ruffels was an ever-present for Oxford recently at left-back, a new player will need to be sourced for that position and it looks like Robinson is looking north of the border for options.
According to The Sun’s Alan Nixon, the U’s are battling with league rivals Ipswich Town for 23-year-old Jamie Robson, who plies his trade with Dundee United.
Robson played 36 times in the Scottish Premiership last season but he could make a move to English football’s third tier, but he would command a fee to get him away from Tannadice.
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Loan star joins League One rivals
Robinson exploited the loan market last season and one of those stars has already signed permanently in the form of Nottingham Forest midfielder Marcus McGuane.
He would have been hoping to secure a return for a second straight campaign of QPR winger Olamide Shodipo, who scored 11 league goals last season.
It isn’t known if Oxford were actually in the race, but Shodipo is heading elsewhere for the 2021-22 campaign as he’s penned a season-long loan agreement with Sheffield Wednesday.
New U’s man sets international goal
Three new signings have arrived at the Kassam Stadium so far this summer – McGuane, Billy Bodin and there’s a return for Ryan Williams after a two-year spell at Portsmouth.
Williams spent the 2013-14 campaign on loan at Oxford when he was contracted to Fulham and now with more EFL experience under his belt he has signed permanently for a second stint at the U’s.
His first goal is to get Oxford into the Championship, but he also has his eyes on Australia’s national team.
Williams has been capped once in 2019 but has now revealed that he’s hoping the switch to Oxford will get him back on the international radar, whilst also stating that he only just missed out on a call-up to the Aussie’s last squad.