DAN Crowley’s future at Oxford United looks under threat, after head coach Michael Appleton revealed discussions were taking place with Arsenal to end the loan early.

The 19-year-old is believed to be meeting with his parent club this afternoon to discuss a way forward.

It comes less than halfway into the season-long arrangement, which could not be ended early without the U’s coming to a financial settlement with the Gunners.

Crowley has made 11 appearances for United, scoring three goals.

Appleton has always spoken highly of the attacker’s talent, but has left Crowley out of his squad for the past three games after publicly questioning his professionalism.

Giving an update this week, Appleton made it clear Crowley would not be considered for the Emirates FA Cup tie at Macclesfield Town tomorrow.

And when asked whether the teenager’s time at the club was over, he said: “Probably,” before adding: “We are just discussing the best way forward with Arsenal before we can put it to bed.”

The apparent breakdown in relationship with a young player who has contributed on the pitch this season is a blow.

But Appleton did not think there was any problem from United’s side.

He said: “Obviously budgets allow you to do certain things, but in terms of how we prepare, the environment we try to create for players is open and honest with each other.

“I’d be very surprised if it was much better elsewhere.

“We don’t question what we do, it’s a matter between Dan and Arsenal now.”

When Crowley arrived in the summer, it was hoped to be the start of a link for other rising stars to follow from Arsenal to the U’s.

If the latest development damages that relationship, Appleton is unconcerned.

He said: “We’ve spoken to them at every stage and are in contact with them quite regularly.

“They are very good and understanding.

“I’m certainly not going to lose sleep if Arsenal have an issue with Oxford United, because one thing we always do is be very professional.”