OXFORD United were staying tight-lipped last night about the future of their head coach.

Michael Appleton’s three-year stay as the U’s manager could be coming to an end after he was linked with the job as Leicester City’s No 2.

Neither United or the Premier League outfit would comment on the story, sparking rumours the 41-year-old could be close to agreeing a deal.

Appleton and U’s chairman Darryl Eales were also unavailable for comment, although the Oxford Mail knows they met yesterday.

That meeting, however, had been arranged for some time, although the items on their agenda will have changed following the link.

The story in one national newspaper saying the deal had been completed appears to be premature, but it is likely Appleton will use the weekend to weigh up his options before making a final decision.

The United boss is good mates with newly-appointed Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare, with whom he worked at West Bromwich Albion.

Although the decision to leave a manager’s job to become a No 2 may surprise some, being involved with a Premier League club may prove too good to turn down for the former Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers boss.

If Appleton decides to leave, the news will come as a monumental blow for the club ahead of the new campaign, and leaves Eales with a big headache as they enter a crucial stage of their recruitment ahead of next season.

The U’s have already signed back-up goalkeeper Scott Shearer and defender Charlie Raglan, while talks have started with highly-rated Partick Thistle defender Liam Lindsay.

But it is unclear whether that deal – and indeed others believed to be on the brink of being completed – would be affected by the departure of the manager.