OF all the Oxford United players whose contracts expire this summer, the decision on Matty Taylor will no doubt have been the toughest one for Liam Manning and the senior team.

The term ‘legend’ is thrown around in football however Taylor is a player that can stake a claim to fitting that category at United, as only eight players have scored more goals for the club.

However, his influence waned this season and he found the net just three times in the league, before joining Port Vale late on deadline day in January.

Yet could his departure be a mistake?

READ AGAIN: Matty Taylor to leave Oxford United in the summer after not being offered new deal

Granted the U’s have the summer to make additions, but currently the striker options at the club are limited.

Gatlin O’Donkor is talented and has great potential but has shown this season he is still raw, while Sam Baldock has been struggling with fitness problems for well over a year.

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Taylor’s main strengths are in the penalty box: his finishing and having that knack of being in the right place in the time.

Age or fitness are unlikely to hinder those strengths too much, and while another centre forward will be a priority in the summer, surely having Taylor as a semi-regular starter or impact substitute would work for all parties?

In terms of big game players who know where the goal is at crucial moments, you’d do well to find too many better than Taylor below the second tier.

There are of course other factors – perhaps Taylor had no interest in a return to the club after his loan or he’s received a better offer from elsewhere.

Where he goes next will likely answer those points, but surely there’s a League One move left in his boots.

Taylor leaves United a modern day great, and the greatest tragedy of the situation is that the hometown hero has not had the send-off he thoroughly deserves.

The U’s must hope that doesn’t come back to bite them.

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.