OXFORD United are closing in on Linfield winger Joel Cooper.

Links with the 24-year-old emerged in May and it is thought a bid was made last week.

BBC Sport believe a deal has been agreed with the Irish League club, paving the way for talks on personal terms.

Fellow Sky Bet League One side Shrewsbury Town were also thought to be interested.

Cooper had reportedly been offered a new contract by Linfield to stay, but he was not involved in their first pre-season friendly last night, despite naming a different XI in each half.

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The Northern Irish market has been a fruitful one for the U's in recent seasons.

In 2018 they signed Gavin Whyte from Crusaders and after an impressive campaign he joined Cardiff City for £2million.

Mark Sykes followed from Glenavon in January 2019, with the attacking midfielder steadily increasing his influence in the side.

Cooper has helped Linfield win the league title in the last two years, scoring 11 goals and setting up another 12 in 28 appearances this season before the coronavirus pandemic halted the matches.

When asked by The Score podcast earlier this summer, Whyte felt Cooper had the talent to be a success in English football.

He said: "I think if that happens for Joel it would be a great move, as it was for me and Sykesy, who is flying at the minute.

"I know Joel from years and years ago, playing against him when I first signed Crusaders at under 15s or 16s.

“He was a great player.

“When he moved to Glenavon a couple of years ago he ripped it up and this season he’s been head and shoulders above everyone else.

“He does really deserve it and hopefully the move comes along for him.”