Standard gets Australian midfielder after missing Gerkens

Aiden O’Neill is a two-time Australian international. — © RR

Standard has proposed its next summer transfer. Aiden O’Neill, a 24-year-old Australian central midfielder who joins Melbourne City on a free transfer. He signs a four-year contract for the Rouches.

Thomas Standaert

Three days after the announcement of Isaac Price (19), Standard has secured a second new midfielder. Aiden O’Neill was picked up by sporting director Fergal Harkin from Melbourne City, the Australian club of the City Football Group for which Harkin worked until last year.

A two-time Australian international, O’Neill completed the latter part of his youth academy at Burnley, where he also made his professional debut in 2016. After loan spells to Oldham and Fleetwood Town, the midfielder returned to his native country where he was successively loaned to Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar. In 2020 he made the final move to Melbourne City where he became a mainstay in midfield and became Australian champion twice. A few months ago, O’Neill still seemed on his way to Troyes, but after their relegation, the midfielder opts for Standard.

Young O’Neill filled in at Burnley for Steven Defour at the end of 2016. — © BELGAIMAGE

At Standard, O’Neill has to absorb the departure of Gojko Cimirot (end of contract). Initially, the Rouches also aimed at Pieter Gerkens as reinforcement in midfield, but the Bilzenaar opted for AA Gent.

After the two new midfielders, Kazeem Olaigbe (20) also has an offensive reinforcement in the pipeline. The Belgian flank attacker with Nigerian roots returns to Belgium after four years at Southampton, where he was trained by Anderlecht until 2019. The announcement of his transfer may follow later this week.

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