After enduring a tough first League One campaign in charge last season, Oxford United boss Karl Robinson has gone about rebuilding his squad over the summer months with no less than 13 players arriving through the door at the Kassam Stadium.
The U’s boss has sprinkled his squad with several loanees that possess sound Football League experience, with young winger Ben Woodburn surprisingly coming in on loan from Liverpool, joined by fellow loanees, midfielder George Thorne from Derby County and striker Matty Taylor from Bristol City.
With stats provided by Transfermarkt.co.uk, showing that all three players have made over 60 Football League appearances, adding some much needed experience to an Oxford squad that has a moderately low average age of 25.3.
Whilst the former of the loanees does not possess as much experience in English football as his other loan counterparts, right back/winger Chris Cadden has impressed for the U’s since his arrival on loan from MLS side Columbus Crew, with the 12-time Scottish under-21 international already assisting two goals since arriving in Oxfordshire.
Given his impact so far, Robinson will also be hoping that fellow new attacking signings, striker Dan Agyei, signed permanently from Burnley, and winger Tariqe Fosu, signed also on a permanent deal from Charlton Athletic, will have a similar impact to the Scotsman.
This season will be a key one for both players as they have both lacked consistency throughout their careers, with Agyei in particular enduring a series of uninspiring loan spells at Blackpool, Coventry and Walsall respectively, after arriving at Burnley with a prolific reputation that he built up during his youth football career with AFC Wimbledon.
In similar circumstances to Agyei, Fosu also endured a tough time at first club Reading, where he struggled to break into the first team, leading to a flurry of loan spells, before he eventually settled at Charlton Athletic and showed flashes of his undoubted potential before becoming a victim of the club’s promotion to the Championship.
In addition to the players mentioned, Robinson has also strengthened the engine room of his midfield with the addition of Spanish midfielder Alex (Rodriguez) Gorrin from Motherwell on a free transfer. He is comfortable at playing in a number of positions, meaning that he can fill in if the U’s pick up any injuries in various areas.
Lastly, the additions of Kashif Siddiqi, Elliott Moore, Anthony Forde, Sam Allardyce, Oussama Zamouri and Kevin Berkoe will help to provide depth to a squad that was depleted by the departures of key players Gavin Whyte and Curtis Nelson, who both signed for Cardiff City this summer.
Given the high standard of additions made by Robinson, it would not be naive to suggest that Oxford may have an outside chance of the play-offs this term, if they can gain some consistent form in the coming months.