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Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Two New Arrivals and One Departure

Oxford United

Oxford United have had a busy week in terms of transfers, with two new additions ahead of the new campaign.

But it wasn’t just incomings with the U’s also seeing one player depart on a permanent basis.

Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Two In, One Contract Extension and One Departure

Vaulks Becomes First Summer Signing

Oxford United made their first summer signing this week with the addition of midfielder, Will Vaulks.

The 30-year-old, who has penned a “long-term” deal, spent the last two seasons at Sheffield Wednesday, winning promotion to the Championship before picking up the Player of the Season award last time out.

He was offered a new deal at Hillsborough but has accepted an offer from the U’s as they prepare to take part in the second tier for the first time in 25 years.

The midfielder has spent six of the last eight seasons playing in the Championship and will bring some vital experience.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I’m really happy to get it done. I’ve known about it for a while now and I’m really impressed by the ambition of the football club.

“There’s a structure in place and it feels like a club that wants to go in the right direction and hopefully we are on the journey upwards.

“What you will get from me is that I can look anyone in the eye and say I will give the club everything. I will work harder than anyone on the pitch and give my all.

“I hope you see a player that has a bit of everything and likes to get in amongst it and let the forward players cause problems. From a fan’s perspective you will see someone who gives everything every week and I can’t wait to get started.”

Head coach, Des Buckingham, said: “We are absolutely delighted to make Will our first signing of the season. Will brings a level of quality and experience to the squad which will be crucial as we embark on a new challenge in the Championship.

“He knows what it takes to be successful at this level and on the international stage, and his leadership qualities will be a key component for the new season.

“Ultimately, Will brings real quality to us on the pitch, and he will be an important player in our midfield going forward.”

Fabrizio Romano Tweets About Oxford United!

After recent reports linking Oxford with Brighton midfielder, Marc Leonard, renowned transfer guru Fabrizio Romano confirmed the interest.

This is the first time the Italian has tweeted in regards to a transfer involving the U’s, so therefore it’s a big deal!

Romano also confirmed that Birmingham and Wrexham were in for the 22-year-old.

Young Goalkeeper Joins the U’s

Oxford then made their second signing in as many days with the addition of young goalkeeper, Jacob Knightbridge.

The 20-year-old will join the U’s on July 1 when his current contract at West Ham expires.

The youngster, who has one cap for England’s U18 team, has developed through the Hammers’ academy and been part of their matchday Premier League squad in the 2023/24 season

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “It’s an opportunity to come to a Championship club where hopefully whether it’s this year or next year I can play for Oxford and cement my career in football.

“As a young player you want to come to a club that has an ambition and I’m happy to be part of that now.

“The idea is to come here and eventually play for this football club, whether that’s staying and trying to do that this season or going out on loan. But the end goal is to become number one at Oxford and I hope to achieve that.

“I can’t wait, especially with the buzz that you can feel around the place after promotion, and I want to add to that.”

Buckingham added: “Jacob is a very promising young goalkeeper who we look forward to having at the club.

“We have a very strong goalkeeping department which is led by Lewis Price, and we believe we can help take Jacob’s game to a new level so that he can challenge to play for Oxford United in the future.”

Head of Recruitment, Ed Waldron, said: “Jacob has developed into a very exciting player over his time at West Ham, where he has learned from some outstanding and experienced goalkeepers.

“We have seen clear talent in Jacob and we hope we can provide a home for him at Oxford United, where over his time at the club he can develop into a first-team regular.”

New Deal for Oxford Midfielder

Oxford United midfielder Josh McEachran penned a new one year deal with the club.

The 31-year-old, who joined the U’s last summer after leaving MK Dons, was out of contract next month but was offered fresh terms.

The Oxford-born midfielder played 34 times for his hometown club as they won promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time in 25 years.

Speaking to the club after resigning, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted to extend my stay at Oxford United.

“Being a local boy from Oxford, I know what this club means to everyone in the area, and it was amazing to see the city get behind the team in what was such a special season.

“Now, I can’t wait to take part in the Championship with Oxford and see what we can achieve.”

Buckingham said: “We are delighted to have Josh remain at Oxford United. Josh played an important part in our team last season, particularly in the run-in as we pushed for the play-offs and then on to Wembley.

“His ability and experience were crucial and we will be looking for Josh to bring those qualities again for the 2024/25 campaign.”

Smyth Departs

Oxford United midfielder Oisin Smyth then joined Scottish Premiership side, St Mirren.

The 24-year-old joined the Saints on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.

Smyth joined the U’s in January 2022 but has struggled for game time, turning out just 25 times. The versatile player also spent time on loan at Solihull Moors in the National League during his time at the club.

The midfielder only found the net once during his U’s career but it was a match-winning strike against Charlton, worthy of the goal of the season award.


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