Jake Forster-Caskey is set to agree a lengthy loan deal to become Oxford United’s second signing of the summer.
The 18-year-old from Brighton & Hove Albion is believed to have preferred the U’s to fellow npower League Two side Burton Albion.
United boss Chris Wilder has signed Sean Rigg in what has been a very quiet close season so far, but is optimistic a loan move for Forster-Caskey lasting at least six months will be completed imminently.
He said: “We’ve just got to sort out the nitty gritty of the deal now and the two clubs are getting on with that.
“Jake gives us a natural left-footer in there, he’s a really good young, exciting footballer that will get goals.
“It’s important his general play and defensive responsibilities are good, but with the way we play those midfielders have a licence to get in the box.”
Son of former Reading midfielder Darren Caskey, the highly-rated youngster’s pedigree goes further, with ex-Brighton striker Nicky Forster as his step-dad.
After progressing through Seagulls’ youth ranks, his first-team debut came a fortnight after his 16th birthday.
Last season the England Under 18 player made six appearances for the Championship club, scoring twice.
Wilder believes if the loan goes through it will benefit all parties.
He said: “I think everyone’s a winner. Brighton win because he’ll get games, Jake’s going to get vital experience and he wants to go and play, which is really refreshing, and we’re getting a good player for the time he’s here.”
Some supporters were unhappy with the number of loan signings used by the club during an injury-hit run-in to last season, believing the commitment of those on short-term deals did not match the effort of contracted players.
Wilder is keen to avoid the loan market as much as possible next season, but feels a longer-term move is different.
He said: “He’d be our player for several months and if he’s with us from the first days of pre-season he’ll know how the club rolls in terms of mentality, tactical and technical stuff – he’s an intelligent player so he’ll grab that.
“It’s completely different to one-month deals – yes, they can be extended to three, but one usually means one.
“We’re comfortable that with these type of loans, he’s our player for the window.”
United’s pre-season begins today, when the first-team squad report back for fitness assessments.