OXFORD United are expected to have a busy transfer deadline day as Marvin Johnson’s saga looks set to end with a big-money departure.

The 26-year-old is poised to join Middlesbrough in a deal believed to be worth an initial £2.5million, plus add-ons.

It will prompt United back into the transfer market and they are chasing at least four targets in a bid to strengthen the squad before the window shuts at 11pm.

While the timing of Johnson’s departure is far from ideal, it represents good business from United.

Signed on deadline day last August for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of £400,000, a year later they are making a tidy profit – even with former club Motherwell’s sell-on clause taking a 25 per cent cut.

United had stuck to their guns all summer that only an “unbelievable offer” would change their minds about allowing the winger to leave.

But while the club have publicly kept their counsel, it has become increasingly clear Johnson had decided he wanted to leave.

He has not played for more than a fortnight, initially claiming a hamstring injury.

Even though boss Pep Clotet reported last week Johnson had returned to training, he has missed two games since.

It meant United were unable to fill their bench for Tuesday’s 6-2 win at Stevenage.

After the game, assistant head coach Derek Fazackerley was asked about Johnson’s situation.

He said: “What’s not here is out of our control and On Thursday we will know where we are.

“He’s not trained properly for two weeks now. If players aren’t training properly you’re not going to put them in the starting XI.”

Johnson’s fee will give United extra ammunition in the transfer market to bolster their attacking options.

And Fazackerley is confident in the contingency plan.

He said: “The recruitment department over the last three years I’ve been at the club has been prepared for most eventualities and hopefully that will be the same again this time.

“We’ll see what happens on Thursday, but the sooner it closes the better for everybody.

“We’re working hard to look at the possibilities of bringing players in, that’s always the case.”