CHARLIE Raglan is aiming to become a key figure for Oxford United after returning to become head coach Michael Appleton’s second signing of the summer.

The centre back, who made 16 appearances on loan with the U’s last season, agreed a permanent deal in May but a holiday prevented him from completing the formalities until yesterday.

Raglan put pen to paper on a two-year contract, with the club retaining the option of a further 12-month extension.

He is the first outfield addition of the close season, following goalkeeper Scott Shearer’s arrival last month.

After playing second fiddle as a loan player at times last season, the 24-year-old believes he is at a critical moment in his career.

He said: “I’m at a time where I want to be seen as one of the main men – not to come across funny but you want to be involved and at the forefront striving for things.

“You want to make a name for yourself and I don’t believe there’s a better place than Oxford United to do that.”

There was never any prospect of Raglan being offered a new deal with parent club Chesterfield, who duly released the defender last month following relegation to Sky Bet League Two.

While other options were on the table this summer, the U’s were always in pole position.

Raglan said: “Once I knew the chance of coming back here was more than just a conversation then I knew deep down it was the place if things were right that I wanted to play.

“It was first spoken about way back, maybe even last year, but the season went on and it was put on the back burner.

“At the back end of the season it was spoken about again and it’s been ongoing ever since.

“It’s good to finally sign – I really feel I’m somewhere I belong.”

The contract gives Raglan a sense of security which has been missing as a loanee and the next job is to find somewhere in Oxfordshire to live.

He said: “I’m pleased I can settle and have a bit more consistency in my life away from training, which can only help me.”