Preston North End swooped in and signed Josh Onomah on deadline day after mutually ending his contract at Fulham.
Twenty-four hours ago, reports began circulating that the signature could be on the card, but other championship clubs were believed to be interested as well.
The 25-year-old has a high level of experience in the Premier League and Championship, having been promoted twice from the Second Division with The Codgers.
It’s an exciting deal for Lilywhites, and it’s hoped that Onoma will be able to add a creative spark that has been lacking throughout the season.
Ryan Lowe is unlikely to change his preferred formation to incorporate Onoma, so where does the former Tottenham Hotspur player fit in the 5-3-2 formation?
There is already a lot of competition for the three midfield positions. Ali McCann and Ben Whiteman occupy two positions most of the time. Ryan Ledson has also enjoyed his recent run in First Eleven.
Alan Brown is another option, but recently ousted Brad Potts in the right-wing back position. It also has Daniel Johnson and Ben Woodburn in a central role.
It’s the latter two that usually demand creativity. The DJ hasn’t reached the heights we know he can do well this season.BlackburnHe left Rovers to see him at his best, but he’s looking forward to the league this season. He started only 13 games in a row.
Ben Woodburn has taken and missed hits this season, sometimes starting the game right behind the striker, but also occupying a midfield position and trying to attack opponents. He has only managed his 1 goal in the league, plus he has 2 assists. He was good at times, but unproductive at others.
So there is a blank space for the new signature to fill. Onomah will think he will play two deeper-lying midfielders in front of them and it will be Ledson to break out of his recently favored trio under Lowe: McCann and Whiteman. sat behind Onoma and stabilized the defense.
Lowe described Onoma as “a big, powerful, and strong attacking midfielder”, but there is no such player at the moment. None of our midfielders are strong, but we hope Onoma brings something new to the No. 8 role.
The concern for the former Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday loan player is that he has only started 12 league games in the past two and a half years. Four of him returned to the Premier League in 2020/21 and eight of him last year.
It may take him some time to get back on his feet, but after he dies, Lowe hopes to hand him over on a contract basis only until the end of the season. That deal also leaves Preston a little vulnerable if he’s impressed by having other suitors.
In the 2019/20 season, when Fulham were promoted in the play-offs to the Championship, Josh Onoma made 15 appearances as an attacking midfielder playing mostly behind Alexander Mitrovic. 3 goals and 3 assists in those games, including one.
On rare occasions, he also played wide at Fulham, but we don’t see him used at Preston’s wing-back position.
Lowe clearly sees him as a link between support-hungry midfield and attack this season. He could be an ideal playmaker for them, as he looks like a dedicated striker.
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