Manager Karl Robinson said he had been confident of bringing the Marcus Browne to Oxford United on permanent deal before Middlesborough snapped him up at the eleventh hour.
Robinson told the Oxford Mail: “I honestly thought we had him yesterday morning and then Middlesbrough came in really late with something which was fantastic for him and his future. We believe he is having a medical right now, but he’s still West Ham’s player, so we will see what materialises. He’s one of the nicest young men you will meet, the support mechanisms around him are superb. His agent gave him great advice. He felt it was right for him to come back (to Oxford) unless there was something of real top quality and that’s what Middlebrough are. If he ends up signing for them he certainly has all of our wishes.”
Browne is expected to complete a £200,000 permanent transfer from West Ham to Middlesborough in the next day or two.
Robinson added: “We matched Middlesbrough’s offer. Financially we matched four Championship teams, so it just shows you. We matched all of the teams’ financial packages in relation to transfer fee and wages.But a big club came calling at the last minute and I don’t think any fan can expect us to compete with the Middlesbrough’s of this world.”
Browne scored nine goals in 44 appearances for Oxford to become a fans favourite last season while on loan.