OXFORD United have snapped up versatile midfielder Louie Sibley after he failed to agree fresh terms with fellow promoted side Derby County.

The 22-year-old was out of contract at the end of last month, and a new deal was offered by the Rams, who finished second in Sky Bet League One during the 2023/24 campaign.

However, Sibley has turned down the chance to stay at Derby, where he has been since joining the Rams youth set-up at Under-8 level.

He instead has opted to join United on a ‘long-term’ contract.

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Sibley told the U’s club website: “It wasn’t a hard decision to make. Watching last season’s success, it’s something you want to be a part of.

“As soon as I knew of the interest, I just wanted to get this deal done. When I walk around the place, I get a feeling that it’s a club that is on the up. It’s a big decision for me, but I can’t wait to get started now.

“I want to be a midfielder in those areas where I can get on the ball and be in the pockets. I feel I’ve got that quality to drive past players and I want to give everything for the shirt.”

Head coach Des Buckingham added: “Louie has been a very important player for his club since progressing into the first team, and we are delighted to bring someone of his quality into our group.

“To get a player that is still at such a young age and with so much experience in the Football League is hugely exciting for us as a club. 

“We believe Louie will be a very positive addition to our group and will help us achieve our goals next season and beyond.

“We hope he can continue to develop as a player and make a significant impact going forward.”

Sibley made 173 appearances for the Rams in all competitions, scoring 20 goals. Sixty-seven of his games came in the Championship.

He made his debut in August 2019, and netted five times during his breakthrough campaign, including a match-winning hat-trick as Derby won 3-2 at Millwall.

In March 2023, Sibley grabbed a brace as the Rams won 3-2 at United, a game that Liam Manning watched from the stands as he prepared to take over as head coach of the U’s after the sacking of Karl Robinson.

Sibley scored six times in 44 appearances as Derby won promotion last season.

He becomes United’s fifth signing of the summer, following the additions of goalkeepers Jamie Cumming and Jacob Knightbridge, right back Peter Kioso and midfielder Will Vaulks.

U’s head of recruitment Ed Waldron said: “Louie agreeing to sign for Oxford United is a fantastic endorsement for us as a football club.

“We are building an exciting squad for this Championship campaign with a good blend of youth and experience, and Louie fits perfectly across both areas.

“He is a player that we expect to make a positive influence in our midfield, and he arrives at an age where we hope Oxford United can get the best of his talents in this season and in the years to come.”