Opinion: Bristol City still lack depth in midfield – but ex-Fulham free agent would be a perfect stop-gap

After leaving Preston North End in the summer, Josh Onomah remains a free agent and could offer the Robins something different in the engine room

The inevitable day that Bristol City supporters didn’t want to come happened on August 10 as midfield maestro Alex Scott departed for the Premier League.


Bristol City need more depth in their midfield, especially to replace the departed Alex Scott, and Josh Onomah could be a good option.
Onomah is a strong and powerful midfielder who can contribute in the attack, and he has experience of winning promotions in the Championship.
With his class and ball-carrying ability, Onomah has the potential to be a consistent and useful player for Bristol City in the midfield.

Josh Onomah and Preston North End hit stumbling block over new contract talks - LancsLive

Bonemouth won the race for the 19-year-old wonderkid, bolstering the Robins’ coffers to the tune of an initial £20 million, with a further £5 million worth of add-ons included in the deal.

It was always going to be hard to replace a maverick like Scott, and having brought in Jason Knight from Derby earlier in the summer, there was expected to be another player or two in the mould of the teenager that would come in and do a job in the engine room.

That didn’t really happen though and there is still a lack of depth in the midfield department despite the summer signings of Knight and Taylor Gardner-Hickman, with the latter playing at right-back in his first two appearances for the Robins.

There could still be a short-term option on the free agent market to bolster Pearson’s squad in midfield, though, in the form of Josh Onomah.

Who is Josh Onomah?
Onomah was a promising talent as a teenager, having come through the ranks at Tottenham Hotspur and was capped by England at six different youth levels, but the 26-year-old hasn’t managed to forge a real Premier League career out of his talent.

Making his debut for Spurs in January 2015 as a 17-year-old, Onomah played 32 times for the Londoners, but after Championship loan spells with Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday, he made the move to Fulham in 2019 as part of the transfer that saw Ryan Sessegnon move in the other direction.


Winning two promotions with the Cottagers to the Premier League, Onomah featured just 13 times for them in the top flight and had more success in the Championship, and when he was deemed surplus to requirements this past January, his contract was terminated to let him join Preston North End for the remainder of 2022-23.


He played 13 times for the Lilywhites and took a while to get himself to the required fitness levels, but there’s an argument to be had that he was never actually fully fit at any point of his time at Deepdale, with nine of his outings coming from the bench.


Despite agreeing terms to remain with Ryan Lowe’s side over the summer, a deal collapsed which left the midfielder a free agent, and despite playing friendlies for Stoke City, he is still without a club over a month into the season.

Why would Josh Onomah be a good fit for Bristol City?


Firstly, Bristol City need some more depth in the engine room, especially if Pearson sees Gardner-Hickman first and foremost as a right-back.

Pearson does have Knight, Williams, Matty James and the ageing Andy King there as well, whilst Mark Sykes could also play there too if needed, but to replace Alex Scott you’ll need multiple players to do that.


The signing of Knight will not be enough, and Onomah would give City something that they don’t already have – strength in the attacking third.


Using his large frame, Onomah is a strong, powerful midfielder who can operate in the ‘eight’ role or as a number 10, and there were moments for PNE where he made things happen in and around the box without registering a goal or assist.


He also does have a touch of class and is a good ball carrier, whilst he also possesses promotion-winning experience from the Championship.


At the age of 26, Onomah still has years ahead of him to be really consistent at Championship level, and he has some attributes which could be very useful in the engine room at Ashton Gate.

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