Everton are in talks to sell academy product Luke Garbutt to Oxford United following the 26-year-old’s season on loan with the U’s in League One, as reported in The Oxford Mail.
United boss Karl Robinson is keen for the left-back to secure a return to the Kassam Stadium this summer, as he was involved in 12 goals (four scored, eight assisted across all competitions) in the recent campaign, with his efforts vastly helping Oxford’s late end of season surge in form to avoid relegation into the fourth-tier.
Garbutt’s increased impact on Oxford’s results as they completed a 27-point haul in their final 13 league games came thanks to a shift in position to left-midfield, which saw the Harrogate-born ace score winning goals against Walsall and Play-Off winners Charlton Athletic.
With a year remaining on his Blues contract, though, it would be improbable that the former England youth international would be sent out on loan again for the upcoming term, as it would leave the club open to the 2010 European U17s champion leaving on a free transfer next summer.
Oxford boss Robinson is, however, convinced a deal can be arranged swiftly, as he sees Garbutt as one of his top targets to improve the left side of his attack.
“We probably need another one or two on the left,” he said. “We would be looking for a left-footed player, ideally we’ll bring Garbs back.
“We’re still speaking to Garbs and his parent club [Everton]. I imagine we will have answers soon.”
Despite making his senior Everton debut in the EFL Cup in 2012, 5 ft 9 Garbutt has not featured for the Toffees since making his 12th, and potentially final, Blues appearance back in 2015.