CONOR McAleny sees Oxford United as a contender to join this summer after enjoying a productive loan spell.
But the forward is unlikely to sign any deal early in the close season as he weighs up the decision at a critical moment in his career.
The 24-year-old is out of contract at Goodison Park this summer and looks set to leave Everton, for whom the most recent of his three appearances came in 2014.
United are the sixth club he has spent time at on loan, but eight goals in 18 appearances make the spell playing under Michael Appleton the most productive.
It is likely McAleny would have to take a significant pay cut to rejoin United on a permanent deal, but they are in the running.
He said: “I don’t know what will happen in the summer, but it’s definitely an option.
“I’m not going to rush into anything because it’s my future.
“I’ll take my time and weigh up the pros and cons of every option. Whatever the options are I’ll sit down and have a good think.
“Every contract is important, but you could say this one is a bit more important.
“I’m going to weigh up my options carefully and hopefully make the right choice.”
Between now and the end of the season there are still two more opportunities for McAleny to add to his goalscoring tally, starting at Millwall tomorrow.
And after playing at the Den for Wigan Athletic in a goalless draw last season, he knows what to expect.
He said: “It’s a tough place to go. I’ve only played there once, but it wasn’t the nicest.
“It will be pretty much the same on Saturday, they’ve got a lot to play for, so their fans and players will be right up for it, so we’ve got to be on our game.
“I’d like a couple more goals, a couple of wins to finish the season on a high. I’ve enjoyed my time here.
“I’ve got a lot of games that I needed and got a couple of goals along the way, so I’m pleased.”