TRANSFER NEWS! But perhaps not the kind you want to hear. Darren Lewis of the Mirror dropped somewhat of a bombshell on Twitter on Thursday night, suggesting that young Tottenham Hotspur midfielder and U20 World Cup winner Josh Onomah may be heading out on loan... to Aston Villa, in the Championship.
Hearing Aston Villa have landed the loan signing of Spurs midfielder Josh Onomah. @MirrorFootball— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) August 3, 2017
If you’re a believer in Josh Onomah’s future as a Tottenham Hotspur contributor, this isn’t great news. Joshy had a fantastic summer, playing very well as a central midfielder and winning the U20 World Cup with England in South Korea. However, he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in Spurs’ preseason trip to the USA. He was deployed, again, higher up the pitch in the two games he played in USA, once wide right against PSG and once as a central attacking mid against Roma, and pretty much failed to impress.
It’s important to note that this is the very essence of a transfer rumor. The only thing we have to go on right now is the tweet from Lewis, and there’s really nothing at this point to back it up. One supposes there’s an article forthcoming in tomorrow morning’s Mirror Sport, but for now we should be careful. We don’t know the duration of the loan, whether there’s any purchase clause, or anything of the sort. All we know right now is what’s in the tweet, and let’s not forget that it’s the Mirror.
But since this blog is all about speculation, let’s speculate. I confess to not having watched a lot (read: any) Aston Villa since they were relegated in 2015-16, so I reached out to Alex Carson from SB Nation’s Villa blog 7500 to Holte for a little context.
There’s some question as to where Onomah could actually play at Villa — central midfield, or attacking midfield. Villa currently play either a double pivot or a three man midfield with Conor Hourihane and Henry Lansbury as true CMs, and some combination or rotation of Mile Jedinak, Glen Whelan, and Leandro Bacuna at defensive midfield. Lansbury can also play higher up along with Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah. Villa also signed Ahmed Elmohamady from Hull City last month.
Jedinak is currently injured, and is also about a billion years old, and Grealish is out for the next three months. So in theory, there would be a couple of possibilities for Onomah to make an impact at Villa Park, depending on Steve Bruce and how he wants to set up the team. Should Joshy move, and should Bruce like what he sees from him, he could slot in at a couple of different positions depending on need and tactics.
But I confess that if this loan actually happens, I’m going to be upset. On the one hand I still pretty much think the world of Joshy and sending him off on loan leaves Spurs perilously thin at central midfield, with basically only Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele, Victor Wanyama, and Harry Winks. Without sounding like a broken record, without reinforcements in the transfer window, sending a possible rotation option in Onomah out on loan feels dangerous and short-sighted.
On the other hand, while we’d all like Onomah to be wonderful at the Premier League level, there’s the strong possibility that Poch thinks he’s just not ready yet, and that a loan to a Championship team where he’s more likely to get regular minutes could be a better situation for his long term development. On the other-other hand, this is Pochettino we’re talking about here and he tends to loan out players that aren’t in his plans and oh god everything’s terrible again.
We’ll wait for more information to see if this rumor pans out, but start bracing yourselves for another Tottenham Hotspur exit, before we actually sign someone.
(Thanks to Alex from 7500 to Holte for a bunch of helpful info)