Oxford United have been dealt a transfer blow as the “integral” Paul Digby has signed a new contract with Cambridge United, Karl Robinson will be gutted.
Cambridge United have officially confirmed that defensive midfielder Paul Digby has committed his future to the club by signing a two-year extension this week. Digby was set to be out of contract at the end of the month after signing a one-year deal upon his arrival at the club at the start of the campaign. He has now put pen to paper on fresh terms to remain with Cambridge for another two years.
Football Insider reported last month that Oxford United were one of three League One sides interested in signing the 26-year-old. Sunderland and Charlton were also named in the report, which claimed that Digby had rejected two contract offers from Cambridge.
Digby has been labelled as “integral” by his Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner, who has explained that the midfielder’s leadership and physical presence have been key for the club.
“Paul played an integral role in our season and adds character, physical presence and aggression to the team.
“His leadership is vital to us and he has a resilience that drives standards. He is as excited about the step up in leagues as we are and he is determined to prove himself at the next level. It is that mindset sweeping through the squad that will focus us for the new season.
Robinson will be gutted that he has missed out on a deal to sign Digby. The opportunity was there to potentially snap him up on a free transfer as he was in the final weeks of his contract at Cambridge, but the newly-promoted club have been quick to make sure that he will not be joining one of their League One rivals heading into next season.
Digby was a standout performer for Cambridge as they romped to promotion from League Two. The £800-per-week midfielder averaged a superb WhoScored rating of 7.02 in the league, placing him third in the Cambridge squad behind Joe Ironside and Wes Hoolahan.
Interestingly, he ranked higher than 32-goal striker League Two Player of the Season Paul Mullin, albeit by 0.01. This shows the level of consistency and quality he was able to provide in midfield for Cambridge throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
Therefore, he could have been an excellent addition to Robinson’s squad at Oxford. Digby made 3.8 tackles and interceptions per game in League Two, which is more than Oxford defensive midfielder Cameron Brannagan was able to manage during the season.