Oxford dealt major blow with “manager’s dream” £2.1k-p/w ace, Robinson will be gutted – opinion

Oxford dealt major blow with “manager’s dream” £2.1k-p/w ace, Robinson will be gutted – opinion

Oxford have been dealt a major transfer blow as left-back Josh Ruffels is nearing a move to Championship side Huddersfield.

What’s the talk?

Huddersfield are reportedly on the verge of sealing a deal to sign Ruffels. Sky Sports have claimed that he is closing in on a transfer to the Championship side as he prepares to leave Oxford. Ruffels’ contract expires at the end of the month and he is set to reject the chance to stay at Oxford to complete a move to the second tier with The Terriers.

Nottingham Forest were also interested in the left-back but they are now poised to miss out on a deal with Huddersfield acting quickly to reach an agreement.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson lauded Ruffels as a “manager’s dream” when the defender hit 300 games for the club earlier this year. He told the Oxford Mail:

“He’s stood the test of the transformation from where we were to where we are,” he said.

“Any good wingers who come up against us, he deals with in a very calm and collected manner.

“He’s a manager’s dream and getting 300 games for the football club is a tremendous milestone for a local lad.

“He’s 7/10 every week – he might jump up to an eight every now and again, but he rarely drops to a six.”

Robinson will be gutted

Robinson will be gutted by this news as one of his best players is set to depart at the end of the month. The club have seemingly been unable to agree fresh terms with him to keep him at the club and now he is able to pursue a Championship transfer as a free agent. Whilst it is understandable from Ruffels’ point-of-view, as he gets the chance to play at a higher level, it is still a huge blow for Oxford and their plans for next season as they attempt to secure promotion out of League One.

Ruffels was one of Oxford’s top performers throughout the 2020/21 League One campaign. He averaged an exceptional WhoScored rating of 7.13 in 44 starts, with Robert Atkinson’s score of 7.43 the only one above Ruffels in the rankings.

Defensively, Ruffels won 4.2 aerial battles and 1.3 tackles, whilst also making 1.8 interceptions and 2.5 clearances per game. Offensively, Ruffels scored six goals and provided six assists from left-back as he regularly provided an attacking threat from the fullback position.

The £2.1k-per-week ace was able to merge defensive nous with attacking flair and that could prove incredibly difficult to replace in the summer window. Robinson is set to lose a top-class left-back at League One level, as shown by his statistics, and his exit could weaken Oxford’s team significantly unless they are able to find a player who can come in and produce a similar standard of performances next season.