OXFORD United have completed a deal for Stuart Findlay, a player who has been a transfer target for the U’s as far back as 2019.

The 26-year-old centre back joins United on a four-year deal, for an undisclosed fee from Major League Soccer club Philadelphia Union.

A bid for Findlay was accepted before United’s friendly win at Oxford City at the beginning of the month, however injuries to his Philadelphia teammates have delayed the move.

Despite failing to nail down regular football in America, Findlay described his time in the States as a ‘fantastic life experience’.

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With a deal now over the line, Findlay said: “It has taken a while to get this transfer through but now it has, I am genuinely excited to get started.

“The gaffer has been great, the facilities are excellent and I have been playing matches in America so I am fit and ready to start training, get to know everyone here and I’m keen to show what I can do.” 

U’s head coach Karl Robinson added: “It’s no secret that he has been our target for a while and I want to thank the owners for backing us to make sure we got our man.

“He reads the game well, is strong in the air and is a real competitor. We look forward to working with him.”

Findlay first emerged as a transfer target for United back in 2019, however the club stepped away from a move when an asking price of more than £500,000 was mentioned.

The U’s are understood to have looked into a deal for Findlay in January, who has struggled for game time in America.

He was out of favour in the States but played two matches last week due to injuries to teammates.

The Scotland international is United’s second summer signing, following the arrival of fellow centre back Ciaron Brown last month. 

The 6ft 3in defender came through Celtic’s academy but did not make a senior appearance before joining Newcastle United on a free transfer in summer 2016. 

Findlay only played once for the Magpies, an Emirates FA Cup third round replay against Birmingham City in January 2017 that set up a clash with the U’s. 

He was loaned to Kilmarnock the following August, having previously enjoyed a spell with the Scottish Premiership side during his time at Celtic, and the move became permanent in 2018 after a successful season. 

Findlay continued to impress at Rugby Park and caught United’s eye in summer 2019, only for their interest to cool when a reported asking price of £500,000 was increased. 

He scored on his senior international debut in a 6-0 win over San Marino in October 2019 and moved to Philadelphia for an undisclosed fee in February 2021. 

Findlay bolsters Robinson’s options at the heart of defence after the departure of Luke McNally, with Elliott Moore, Brown and John Mousinho the other senior centre backs. 

Findlay won’t be involved this evening against West Bromwich Albion, but is expected to be part of the squad at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.