IT IS business as usual at Oxford United, but chairman Darryl Eales says speculation over a potential takeover bid is unhelpful when talking to transfer targets.

News of Uruguayan businessman Juan Sartori’s interest in the club emerged several weeks ago and he met Eales last month.

The Oxford Mail revealed a bid has been tabled, but the U’s chairman, who has repeatedly stressed he is not looking to sell, believes a deal is “not remotely close”.

And Eales has revealed there have been half-a-dozen other interested parties who have got as far as Sartori in the last two years, without an agreement being reached.

The United owner is confident the rumours will not impact on his staff, but the one concern is the speculation disrupts head coach Michael Appleton’s attempts to strengthen his squad.

Eales said: “Across every aspect it’s business as usual.

“I have a grown-up relationship with Michael so I don’t think it affects his view of life.

“If I did do a deal with anybody at any stage I would keep him in the loop and necessarily from my perspective it would improve Michael’s position, because he would have more to spend.

“From Michael’s perspective I don’t think there’s a downside, but when you’re trying to attract players to a club any uncertainty is unhelpful.

“Even if there are no issues, it throws up a question that wasn’t there before.”

United were aiming to get a significant chunk of their transfer business completed before the end of the month, but goalkeeper Scott Shearer is their only signing so far.

Appleton is continuing to put in the miles to meet targets and agents as he looks to get deals in place before taking a holiday next month.

In that context, Eales views the speculation involving Sartori, who has yet to comment on his interest, is unwelcome.

He said: “I’m not looking to sell the club, but I’ve said many times if there’s someone interested in taking the club forward with greater resources than I have, then why wouldn’t I talk to them?

“The bit I’m slightly frustrated with is I could give you five or six names over the last two years I’ve spoken to the same level of detail as Juan – it’s just this one is in the public domain.

“None of those came to anything, so my working assumption is nothing will happen because that’s the nature of most deals.”

He added: “The reality is we’re not remotely close to a deal from my perspective.

“I can’t tell you what Juan thinks. He might be seriously interested, he might not.

“When I met him he seemed a really good bloke and given his connections he might be someone who is beneficial to the club, but that’s probably as far as I could go.”