OXFORD United have missed out on signing Marcus Browne with the winger completing a move to Middlesbrough.

The 21-year-old underwent a medical at the Championship club this morning, before agreeing a permanent deal.

United made no secret of their desire to re-sign Browne, who enjoyed a successful loan spell with the League One side last season, after he attended their friendly against Fulham on Tuesday night.

Karl Robinson said he had been confident of bringing the West Ham United trainee back to the Kassam Stadium and the U’s were able to match Middlesbrough’s offer.

But, speaking before the deal was finalised, the United boss accepted the chance to play at a higher level was too good for Browne to turn down.

Robinson said: “I honestly thought we had him yesterday morning and then Middlesbrough came in really late with something which was fantastic for him and his future.

“He’s one of the nicest young men you will meet, the support mechanisms around him are superb.

“His agent gave him great advice.

"He felt it was right for him to come back (to Oxford) unless there was something of real top quality and that’s what Middlebrough are. If he ends up signing for them he certainly has all of our wishes.”

Robinson added: “We matched Middlesbrough’s offer. Financially we matched four Championship teams, so it just shows you.

“We matched all of the teams’ financial packages in relation to transfer fee and wages.

“But a big club came calling at the last minute and I don’t think any fan can expect us to compete with the Middlesbrough’s of this world.”

Browne made quite an impression during his season-long loan with United, scoring nine goals in 44 appearances.

The London-born player joined West Ham as an eight-year-old and has 12 months remaining on his contract.

But the Hammers were happy for Browne to leave this summer and his presence at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night sparked rumours he could be returning to United.

“He loved being back,” said Robinson.

“He does class this as his home weirdly, even though he’s been a West Ham player for a long period of time and that really filled me with an awful lot of warmth, because it does mean we do things right here.

“But when I spoke to Marcus on Tuesday I actually said if the likes of Middlesbrough and Derby County come in for you, we understand and respect that.

“We are here to make these kids better people and better players and we’ve done that with Marcus.”