SIX months ago, many of us were worried Elliott Moore could leave Oxford United for nothing this summer.

That was before Karl Robinson revealed the centre back had a one-year option in his contract, which for some reason had never been publicised.

The U’s activated that clause but the 25-year-old could still have left for free at the end of next season, so the club were not exactly in a strong position.

FULL STORY: Elliott Moore signs three-year contract with Oxford United

Even so, it would have been understandable for United to prioritise other deals after triggering the option.

They still needed to sort Alex Gorrin and Billy Bodin’s contracts, while there is also the small matter of recruitment with next season less than eight weeks away.

But the way United moved quickly to tie Moore down to a three-year deal shows the ‘big club mentality’ Robinson wants to instil.

At 25, the centre back should be approaching his peak. His best years will be at Grenoble Road if he sees out his new contract.

Moore is a very good Sky Bet League One centre back, who reportedly attracted interest from Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City. It would not be at all surprising if other clubs were looking at him.

United were in a similar position last summer with Mark Sykes, having triggered the one-year option in the Irishman’s contract in April 2021.

The 2021/22 season drifted by with club and player unable to agree new terms and the midfielder joined Bristol City for free last month.

The 24-year-old is another whose best years should be ahead of him, but United will not be the ones to benefit.

Ultimately, the player must want to stay. In the case of Sykes, and Josh Ruffels last summer, it always seemed like promotion to the Championship was the deal-breaker in the final season of their contracts.

United have ensured they will not be in the same situation with Moore and could well reap the benefits.