IT can be difficult to get deals done in the January transfer window – but that does not stop the rumours flying around.

Several players have been linked with moves to and from Oxford United so it can be difficult to keep track.

To help with that, we have revived our list of the rumours involving the U’s.

New links will be flagged, as will updates to existing stories.


United were the only club specifically mentioned when this rumour broke, so it inevitably caught the eye.

Football Insider claims the U’s are in competition with several English Football League teams for the Newcastle United midfielder, who is reportedly available on loan.

Longstaff had a disappointing season-long spell at Aberdeen cut short in December after making just five appearances at Pittodrie.

The 21-year-old fell out of favour at St James’ Park in 2020/21, having marked his Premier League debut with a long-range winner against Manchester United in October 2019.

This rumour came out of the blue and you would think Longstaff would be looking at a Sky Bet Championship loan.

Meanwhile, United are well-stocked in the box-to-box role the midfielder favours, with other areas of more concern.

But Cameron Brannagan and Mark Sykes have been linked with moves away this month, so this could be a case of the U’s acting proactively to ensure they are not caught short in that position.


The 19-year-old is another name out of left field and there is no reason to suggest anything is imminent, but this one makes sense.

Jordan Thorniley’s return to Blackpool left United with just three senior centre backs, so it is a position that is looking a little light.

Ricardo Cardoso, said to be a reporter with close links to Wolves, has now claimed that the U’s have agreed a loan deal with the Premier League club for Marques.

The teenager had a season-long loan at Portuguese Primeira Liga side Belenenses SAD cut short, after making just two youth appearances in a struggling team.

Wolves clearly intended for him to gain first-team experience this year, so another spell away would be logical.

Marques captained the club’s Under 23s in 2019/20 and 2020/21 – becoming the youngest player to skipper their development side – and completed 90 minutes at Sunderland on Monday night.


Football Insider claims Championship clubs Preston North End and Barnsley are interested in the Morecambe goal machine, along with the U’s and Rotherham United in League One.

But, as of early this week, rumours that United have submitted a bid for Stockton are understood to be wide of the mark.

The U's want a striker and the 27-year-old has been one of Sky Bet League One’s top performers this term, so it was only a matter of time before the two were linked.

Stockton has scored 20 times in 31 appearances for the Shrimps in 2021/22, including a stunning volley in his side’s 3-1 defeat at the Kassam Stadium in October.

His displays have caught the eye higher up the food chain and the Lancashire side can hold out for a decent fee, with 18 months left on the forward's contract.


At the start of January, Football Insider reported that United are one of nine clubs across the Championship, League One and the Scottish Premiership interested in the 26-year-old.

Findlay, who has eight caps for his country, moved to MLS side Philadelphia Union last February but has struggled for match-time.

This is not the first time United have been linked with him it is understood they have looked at him this month.

A late offer could be on the cards following Thorniley's return to Blackpool, however whether anything can be agreed remains to be seen. 

Findlay was a transfer target in summer 2019, but the U’s stepped away from the deal when a reported asking price of £500,000 was raised even higher.


The U's are believed to have held talks with Defoe last week and were certainly in the race for the 39-year-old, although this one has gone quiet in the last few days.

Karl Robinson played a straight bat when asked, adding: “Sometimes I say things for effect to hide situations, but in this situation I don’t think it’s right that we comment on what we’re trying to do.”

Defoe left Rangers this month and has played just twice this season, but has a reputation as one of English football's most-feared strikers of the 21st century.

Oxford Mail:

Jermain Defoe Picture: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

With more than 300 senior goals to his name, most of them at the top level, signing the 57-cap forward would give United a huge lift.

Defoe would need to take a significant pay cut if he opts against hanging up his boots, but the U's may be able to work around that given the short-term nature of the deal.

A bigger hurdle may be the emotional attachment the striker has to former club Sunderland, who are also in the race.

Black Cats boss Lee Johnson told the Sunderland Echo last weekend: “We’re working very hard to bring Jermain in and we’ve had good conversations [to that effect]. It’s an option."


United, Bolton Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town were reportedly interested in a loan deal for the Coventry City man earlier in the window, when he was yet to play a Championship match this season.

But Shipley has started his side's last three games, albeit two of those as an emergency wing-back, and scored against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

The midfielder told Coventry Live afterwards: “The only thing I have said so far is I just want to play football, and if I am going to play here then I am happy to stay and play."

Shipley is out of contract this summer, although the Sky Blues – who are tenth in the second tier – have an option to extend his deal by a year.

Karl Robinson was tight-lipped when asked about the rumour, telling us: “He’s a good player, but we’re not going to speculate on other players in this window."


It would not be a transfer window without United being linked with Marcus Browne.

The U's are understood to have had a firm interest for some time, but Football Insider reports the 24-year-old is set to join Charlton Athletic.

Initially, this was said to be on loan, however sources in south London claim the Addicks are working on a permanent deal.

Oxford Mail:

Marcus Browne during his second spell at Oxford United Picture: David Fleming

It is thought the south London club have offered Browne a very competitive financial package, although the deal is yet to be confirmed.

The former West Ham man joined the Us for 2018/19 and the second half of 2019/20, when he scored 14 goals in 60 games.

This month marks a year since Browne last played, having suffered an ACL injury at Brentford in January 2021.


Arguably the least surprising transfer story this January has been Blackpool’s bid for the influential midfielder.

The Seasiders targeted Brannagan last summer, with United rejecting a six-figure offer late in the window.

After news of this month’s approach emerged, different sources quoted a range of bids from £300,000 upwards - but the Oxford Mail understands the offer was north of £500,000.

This was well short of the seven-figure buyout clause in Brannagan’s contract, agreed when he signed a three-year deal in summer 2020.

The Championship outfit then offered Thorniley, on a season-long loan at United, in a player plus cash deal.

But the U's refused to budge, with the two clubs' valuations of the centre back said to be different.

Thorniley has since been recalled by Blackpool, although this is said to be a result of the Seasiders' depleted defensive ranks rather than the Brannagan chase.


The U’s were one of several League One clubs linked with the Ipswich Town striker at the start of December.

Norwood had been out of favour at Portman Road and had made just five appearances all season, with only two of those in the league.

U's head coach Karl Robinson would not confirm or deny the Norwood rumours directly, but told us: “That is the calibre. If you’re going to do anything in January, it cannot be to fill a gap, it’s to make this team stronger."

The East Anglian Daily Times has since reported that United were one of seven sides, six of them in League One, to enquire about the 31-year-old.

But the chance of a move seems to have been scuppered by Ipswich’s decision to sack Paul Cook in December.

Since then, Norwood has scored four goals in seven matches under new boss Kieran McKenna and the Tractor Boys manager clearly rates the forward.


The in-form midfielder’s future has already been up for discussion in January, having entered the final six months of his contract.

Now, Football Insider claims Huddersfield Town are one of several clubs monitoring Sykes’ situation and are preparing to ‘firm up’ their interest.

The Terriers, who signed Josh Ruffels from the U’s last summer, have reportedly sent scouts to watch the 24-year-old multiple times.

Oxford Mail:

Mark Sykes Picture: David Fleming

Sykes has been one of United’s top performers this season, securing a regular place in the starting XI and scoring eight goals.

The U’s would get a fee if the Irishman left this month, but if they cannot agree a new deal then he would be free to leave for nothing at the end of the season.

Karl Robinson said earlier in January: “We believe people like him need to be part of the football club moving forward. We want Mark Sykes to stay here for a long time.”


United have been linked with the 19-year-old winger since the end of last year.

According to the Irish Independent, the U’s are one of several English clubs tracking St Patrick’s Athletic star Burns.

United have recent history with the League of Ireland Premier Division side, signing Luke McNally from St Pat’s for an undisclosed fee this time last year.

Like the centre back, Burns starred for the Dublin club’s Under 19s before graduating to the first team, making his debut in 2020.

The teenager has played for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at age-group level, but is currently switching allegiance to the latter.

United have regularly looked across the Irish Sea in the last four years, signing Gavin Whyte, Mark Sykes, Joel Cooper and McNally.


The Australian winger was linked with a move closer to home back in November.

Reports Down Under suggested Williams was a target for New Zealand-based side Wellington Phoenix, who he had recently started following on Instagram.

The capital club play in Australia’s A-League, a competition the 28-year-old has never appeared in having moved to England as a teenager.

Oxford Mail:

Ryan Williams Picture: David Fleming

Williams played a straight bat when asked about the rumours, explaining: “It’s just standard. Being an Aussie, I get interest from Australia all the time, so it’s part and parcel.

“Every window is similar, sometimes it comes out and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Wellington have since signed another winger, Mexican Gael Sandoval, while Williams started three U’s games in a row for the first time since August.