A move away from Rotherham United for Chris Maguire could hinge on the midfielder being given a financial pay-off by the Championship club.
Oxford United have confirmed they are keen to see the 27-year-old return to the Kassam Stadium after his successful loan spell in League Two but say the final decision rests with the Millers.
U’s boss Michael Appleton said: “We certainly would like to do something and I know Chris, having spoken to him on Saturday, would love to stay.”
Maguire’s loan stay ended on Sunday and he played for Rotherham’s reserves side against Hartlepool yesterday along with another player surplus to requirements at AESSEAL New York Stadium under manager Neil Redfearn, striker Jordan Bowery.
Former Sheffield Wednesday ace Maguire, signed in the summer by previous Millers boss Steve Evans on a one-year contract, could go back to Oxford on loan or agree a termination of his Rotherham contract and sign a full deal with the promotion contenders.
“It’s now down to him, his representatives and Rotherham,” Appleton added. “The frustrating thing from Chris’s point of view is that he’s in a bit of limbo.
“I know he would prefer to get some sort of settlement. Whether Rotherham are prepared to do that, we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Millers’ policy is to not comment on transfer speculation But another loan agreement could see them still paying some of Maguire’s salary and it may be they would prefer to see him off the wage bill completely.
Maguire, who featured only four times under Redfearn, made nine starts from Oxford, scoring once,
“The last half a dozen games, his fitness levels are where they should be,” Appleton said. “From our point of view, we’re delighted with his contribution and hopefully he can contribute a little bit more.”
Rotherham are still awaiting international clearance for striker Luciano Becchio but remain confident he will be eligible for Saturday’s trip to Cardiff City and they remain in the hunt for new midfielders before the close of the transfer window on February 1.
They have more room for manoeuvre in the loan market after the returns of Tony Andreu and Harry Toffolo to parent club Norwich City.
Even though he is keen to strengthen, Redfearn is delighted with the form of central midfield duo Paul Green and Richie Smallwood.
They were paired together for the third game in a row against QPR last Saturday, and the Millers boss said: “I thought Paul and Richie were absolutely outstanding.
“I don’t know where those lads found their energy because they have basically played in those positions for three games in eight days.
“It’s great testimony to them. I know Greeny got man of the match, and rightly so, but Richie wasn’t far behind him.”
Despite the presence of Maguire and Bowery, a young reserves team slid to a 4-0 defeat against Pools.