U’s boss hopes forward planning will help with catch-up in transfer window

The U’s won promotion to the second tier of English football with a 2-0 win against Bolton Wanderers in the League One play-off final on May 18, two weeks after the regular Championship came to an end.

That two-week gap has provided United’s second tier opponents a head start when it comes to summer planning, but head coach Buckingham is confident that by planning ahead in advance, the U’s will be in a good position to get on with their transfer work when the window officially opens on June 14.

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Asked about the club’s summer transfer plans, Buckingham said: “That started a while back when we started scenario planning for League One and for potentially being in the Championship.

“You can’t start now because you’re behind clubs by at least two weeks, because we went into the play-offs and the final.

“The scenario planning was in place, and now it’s a case of moving and acting on those things. You have to do that in a way though, and be respectful to the players we have, and we’ve done that.

“I’d like to think in the right way or the best way possible, by speaking to our own players first, and now it’s about looking at what we need, and seeing what we can do to fill those voids, and some additional quality to our squad.”

Promotion to the Championship means that United will inevitably be linked with more players than usual this summer, as agents look to get deals over the line for their players.

Oxford Mail:

One link to have already surfaced is a move for Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Marc Leonard.

The 22-year-old came up against the U’s after spending this season on loan at Northampton Town.

Scottish national newspaper the Daily Record claims that United are prepared to meet Brighton’s six-figure asking price for Leonard, who was born in Glasgow and has represented Scotland’s Under-21s.

There is also reported interest from other Championship sides, plus teams in League One. Polish side Legia Warsaw and Austrian outfit Sturm Graz have also been credited with interest in Leonard.

The midfielder joined Brighton as a 16-year-old from Hearts in 2018, and made his first team debut in August 2021, starting in a 2-0 win against Cardiff City in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

He has also represented the Seagulls in the EFL Trophy, and again in the Carabao Cup, when Brighton beat Swansea City 2-0 in the third round during the 2021/22 campaign.

Leonard has spent the last two seasons on loan with the Cobblers, helping them to promotion last season, before starting every single league game this campaign.

In total, he scored six times in 97 appearances for Northampton. Leonard is under contract at Brighton until June 2025, with the club holding an option for a further year.

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