Oxford United Chase £1.6 Million-Rated Star

Oxford United lead the chase for Louie Sibley after his release from Derby County earlier this week, according to a report from Pete O’Rourke

The 22-year-old joined the Rams in 2010, starting his career in the youth set-up. Sibley would go on to be a mainstay in the academy throughout the years, winning its Player of the Season award in the 2017/18 season.

This success rewarded him with the opportunity to become a first-year scholar, where the midfielder would continue to raise his standard. He’d go on to play a big role in the Derby side that won the U18 Premier League title in 2019, beating some of the biggest clubs in the country such as Manchester United & Liverpool.

A first-team breakthrough would come at age 17, when Sibley would make his debut away to Scunthorpe United in the EFL Cup, boasting a 1-0 win that would provide him with his first senior start for Derby against arch-rivals Nottingham Forest in the next round.

The positive feel around the midfielder’s career didn’t stop there, as he ended his debut campaign with five goals in 11 games, including a hat-trick against Millwall. He’d sign a new deal with the club taking him up to the end of the 23/24 season.

Sibley’s development in the Championship kicked on before Derby suffered the awful news of administration that would dock them 21 points. Subsequently, Millwall came knocking for him, but he decided to stay at the club.

After enduring two seasons of League One football, the 22-year-old couldn’t agree on terms with the Rams on a new deal this summer despite leading them back to the Championship in April, where he featured 38 times, netting on three occasions.

Oxford now look set to pounce on what could potentially be a shrewd piece of business, with the midfielder making 67 appearances in the Championship in his career, They’ll need some players at the Kassam Stadium who are experienced at this level to remain as a second tier side and survive the drop.

Valued at £1.6 million according to Transfermarkt, Oxford wouldn’t need to pay Derby a transfer fee.

Writer’s View

Sibley stayed with the Rams during one of, if not the hardest period in the club’s history, rejecting offers to go to fellow Championship rivals all the while putting a shift in wherever he was played on the pitch. However, after failing to agree terms it’s clear that maybe the money wasn’t quite right on the deal, or perhaps new surroundings proved to be a more appealing proposition.

For Oxford, it feels like a transfer that they have to throw everything at. Not every day do you get the chance to sign a player who’s just 22 years of age, and has played just under 150 games in the EFL, with all of those coming in the second and third tier. If Oxford want to become a mid-table Championship side, they’ll need to sign players that fit this mold.

Being able to play all across the midfield, and apply his trade in the wide defensive areas, the versatility of Sibley gives him that unique edge over other potential transfer targets. Oxford won’t be in the position come September to have a squad full of Championship level depth. However bringing in the former Ram would be a statement suggesting that they aren’t just making up the numbers.

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