The 26-year-old was out of contract this summer and turned down a new deal to remain at Meadow Lane, following their promotion from the National League in their most recent campaign.
Oxford United had a fairly different campaign, with the club avoiding relegation following a strong run of form in the final stage of the season. They parted ways with Karl Robinson prior to this and Liam Manning stepped in, as the club finished outside the top half of the table for the first time since their arrival in League One, reaching the playoffs in previous seasons.
Rodrigues was a key part of the now League Two side Notts County in helping them return from the National League. Joining in 2020, the Portuguese forward netted 51 times over his three seasons at Meadow Lane and established him as a key figure in Luke Williams’ team. Last season, he was once again a crucial part of the side that saw victory in the playoff final against Chesterfield, as he scored 19 goals and provided 15 assists in an incredible season which saw County wage an epic encounter with Wrexham.
For Oxford, they have had a big gap in their team to fill since the announcement of their released/retained lists, as forward Matty Taylor will depart the club at the end of his contract, however, Taylor also spent the second half of last season on loan at Port Vale, nevertheless, the club will be looking for a replacement and seem to have found that in Rodrigues, who joins on a free also.
The Notts County board of Directors themselves issued a statement regarding the Portuguese man’s departure from the club.
“We’d like to thank Ruben for his fantastic service to the club since his arrival in 2020.
“In joining us, he made a brave decision to move away from family and friends to further his career in a foreign country and he can certainly be proud of what he’s achieved.
Rodrigues will be taking two steps up the football pyramid with the club not beginning their League Two journey just yet, so he will be jumping straight from National League to League One in a way and it is certainly a test he appears to be capable of passing if his displays during his time at County are anything to go by.
Rodrigues is a fantastic talent and it is not surprising to see him enticed away by a club at a higher level, however, given how ambitious Oxford United are, it cannot be too much of a shock and last season could be seen as just a blip with their first finish outside the top half. Rodrigues is certainly a statement signing by Liam Manning as they prepare for next season and they could be one to watch next season.
Find out more about Ruben Rodrigues’ move to Oxford United here as Callum of TREFL gives his opinion on why he joined the League One club.