Oxford United striker James Constable declines Swindon Town talks

James Constable
Constable has scored 78 goals in 168 games for Oxford

Oxford United striker James Constable has turned down the opportunity to speak to Swindon Town about a move to the County Ground.

After dismissing an approach from their local rivals last week, the U's allowed the 27-year-old to enter talks after receiving a "much-improved offer".

But Constable declined to enter discussions and will stay with Oxford.

Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray told BBC Wiltshire: "The deal is dead in the water now."

He continued: "We were very hopeful and we had agreed terms with Oxford. The player was due to come down and meet Paolo [Di Canio - manager] but we were informed he didn't want to take it any further.

"From Paolo's point of view he only wants people who are 100% committed in coming to Swindon. As soon as he knew there was dithering on the part of the player, he felt it was right to move on to other targets."

Constable reiterated his commitment to the U's on his Twitter accountexternal-link on Thursday night.

He wrote: "This has been one of the toughest days I have had in my career, never wanted to leave the football club, it means everything to me."

Earlier in the week when news of the Robins' interest emerged he posted: "I have never asked to speak to Swindon."

Oxford confirmed in a statement on the club websiteexternal-link that Constable would remain their player and would be included in the squad for Saturday's game with Hereford.

Wiltshire-born Constable joined Oxford on loan from Shrewsbury in August 2008 before signing a permanent deal the following season, and was part of the side that won promotion back to the Football League in 2010.

He has previously attracted interest from Bournemouth and Luton Town but committed himself to the U's by signing a contract extension in April, keeping him at the club until 2014.

Di Canio has made no secret of his admiration for the striker and taunted their local rivals earlier in the season when he claimed Constable was a Robins fan.

The Italian said at the time: "It would be good to bring him here but I don't think Oxford will let him go, especially with the rivalry.

"He's an important player for them obviously. In the last few years he is the one who has scored the goals. He has pace, he is tall, he can score with both feet and his physical presence is massive."