THE permanent signing of Marcus McGuane will give Oxford United a nice boost going into a big weekend for the club.

The midfielder obviously cannot play against Burton Albion, but to see the U’s tie down a player with such a high ceiling on a three-year deal is a statement of intent that will have an impact far beyond Sunday’s game.

Since Karl Robinson announced his intention to bring McGuane back at the start of April, the noises coming out of United suggested it was a case of when, not if, they would seal the deal.

Read also: Marcus McGuane excited to play in front of Oxford United fans again

To get it sorted in the first week of May, and with the U’s still unsure which division they will be in next season, says a lot about how highly the 22-year-old thinks of the club.

You would also hope it sends a message to the players United could be in danger of losing this summer.

The U’s have paid a fee for McGuane, so this transfer shows the board is willing to provide the cash to land top targets.

Two seasons of challenging at the summit of Sky Bet League One has established United as one of the front-runners in the third tier.

Promotion should be enough to keep many of their best players.

But if United fall short, signings like this will surely reinforce their status as one of the favourites next season.

Whatever happens, it will be an exciting summer.