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How are we going to keep O'Nien?

Tbh I don't think we will. Without a contract extension already agreed I think the writing's on the wall. I reckon he'll be at a Championship club next season. Not a first team regular but good enough to wow from the subs bench.

However here's one suggestion that might help persuade him to sign a contract extension: make him captain. I think Hayes will move on, as I explained in the play-off thread, so we'll be looking for someone new. Bloomfield might move on too and probably wouldn't be a first team regular if he stayed. I'm not sure Thompson will be either next season. Ingram has already gone, Pierre will too, Jacobson played badly when he had to shoulder captain responsibilities earlier in the season.

So if we're looking for someone new, here's the case for O'Nien.

1) He's one of the first names on the team sheet each week. Almost an ever present this season
2) I think having a captain playing in the centre of the pitch is best, you're always close to the thick of the action
3) He's clearly hugely popular with the squad
4) He seems capable of charming referees (certainly he appears to have avoided quite a few cards for aggressive and late tackles)
5) He's always eloquent in his interviews, helping him become a key ambassador for the club
6) Ainsworth clearly loves and trusts him
7) He's both footballing intelligent and seems pretty smart off the pitch (I vaguely recall a tweet boasting about getting 10 grade As at GCSE and we've probably all seen the video of him solving a rubik's cube while doing keepie-uppies)
8) He's never afraid to commit himself on the pitch, often throwing himself into the tackle - he'd lead by example, a lot like Hayes
9) If we do sign a lot of young players this summer, his elevation will send a strong message to them of what they can achieve at Wycombe
10) Making young people captain works. Look at Roger Johnson here, look at Alfie Mawson at Barnsley (I bet the offer of captaincy persuaded him to sign for the league one club instead of going to a championship team...)

O'Nien as captain would have to cut down a little on some of the more aggressive tackling (Stuart Lewis's red card at Wimbledon early on in his stewardship was the beginning of the end for him, I think). And how older members of the squad like Thompson react would be interesting, and could go either way. But the pros far outweigh the cons, in my book, especially if that's the only way we can keep O'Nien for another season. As we've seen against Rovers and Borough, he's so important to the team these days.

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Comments

  • I can see where you are coming from, but if he is offered a move which doubles his wages, well there's no contest is there!

  • Who knows what's going on behind the scenes regarding renewing his contract? Don't you think Ainsworth will be doing all he can to keep him at Wycombe if only for another season?

  • Hope Luke signs another season for us he is just one great happy player.

  • I can see Luke staying actually.

    If he goes to a bigger club now he'll probably find himself in the same place he was at Watford.

    There's lots to be said for being a first team regular in a side that suits your playing style at his age.

    Fingers crossed.

  • I think we also have to understand the massive gulf between L2 and the Championship. Luke is nowhere near the quality required for that level yet. Maybe a L1 club, but certainly not a jump of two divisions!

  • I'd be surprised if Luke doesn't stay. He's a promising player and could develop into a very good player, but he's got a little way to go yet. I don't think he's at the same level as Scowen when he left for Barnsley, as he had got to a stage where he was dominating the middle of the park in some of his latter performances and Luke is not yet doing that for us. I think another season or 2 learning his trade at Wycombe will do him no harm at all in the long run. That's certainly my wish anyway!

  • I'd like to think Luke would stay, though we're in the position where he has a better than hand than WWFC in contract negotiations. We may find it difficult to replace him, though if he does go it'll be as good an opportunity that McGinn's going to get to step up to the plate.

  • He seems to enjoy playing for the club. He's a smart lad so I think he will be aware that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Sitting on the bench for a League 1 club up north might not be as good as what he's got here.

  • Could we not do something like we did Scowen by offering him a three year contract on improved terms (if we have the funds) and promising him that we wouldn't stand in his way if a bigger club came in for him. That promise could be protected by having a specified transfer sum which would trigger release.

  • I'd be a little surprised if there was Championship interest in O'Nien. It might even be a push to say that a playoff orientated League 1 side would be particularly interested.

    Since December, I think you could make a persuasive argument that he has been Wycombe's best player but that is only a sample of size of 15 to 20 games. His only other run of games came in the Conference South. He's still developing (admittedly quickly) many of the key attributes that makes for a complete midfielder at this level so is likely to need more time to do so higher up.

    I don't want anyone to think that I'm undervaluing him as a key component to our team nor would he garner huge interest from our rivals if he became a free agent; just that he is a reasonable target for us to keep him.

  • I like him but he is young and not yet as good as Scowan who can't get a game at Barnsley. Also, top clubs look at player physiology much closer than lower leagues (remember the issue of how Jack Wilshere is an injury liability due to his running style?), Luke has had a very serious (career threatening) injury which has clearly impacted on his running style, his knees will come under increasing pressure as he becomes a marked man.
    In short, improved terms 2 year deal, he clearly loves being here, we sell him after 18 months for ยฃ300k to a League 1 side, job done.

  • Josh has played 31 times for Barnsley this season so I wouldn't say he can't get a game. I'd agree, however, that Luke O needs a bit more development before getting close to Josh's level. No reason why he shouldn't manage it, though.

  • Scowan was injured earlier in the season so missed a few games. On other forums Barnsley fans really rate him.

  • He is nowhere near championship level yet. Lots of work to be done on his passing and positioning and I imagine he will try to bulk up at some point too.

    Luke is having a very good first season but at present would look fairly ordinary in league 1.

    Let's not get carried away after a couple of goals.

  • Luke is very promising and has the right attitude to get better and better.
    I can see him at a Champioship Club easily, if he continues like he has in a few seasons.

    Bulk up a bit and hey presto.

  • Call me picky but there is a degree of misrepresentation of Josh Scowen's season above. "Missed a few games"? In fact he was out with medial knee ligament damage for nearly 3 months. Since his return, for whatever reason (new players brought in, change of manager etc), he has been warming the bench. I think he has started about 20 matches. Even so, I think Luke has some way to go before comparisons with Josh can be justified.

    The suggestion that Luke should be given the captaincy made me smile. Alfie Mawson, it's true, was captain of Barnsley for a period (and that was a remarkable achievement) but he is an imposing character both in his physical presence and his authority as a player (an old head on young shoulders). Luke is delightful but hardly skipper material!

  • would be as bad a decision as making Stuart Lewis captain, one of GA worst calls as Manager.

  • Or giving Dean Morgan the prized No 7 shirt.

  • Morgan was our best player for at least a season.

  • My point really @Chris was that offering the no. 7 shirt seemed to me to be an example of how GA indulged Dean Morgan only to have his tolerance thrown back in his face. A flippant aside really and out of place on this thread.

    I loved Deano's brief episodes of class and flair and let him know in time-honoured fashion but the abiding memory is of gloved hands outspread and arms akimbo at some perceived injustice. Sad really.

  • Fair enough. I get the feeling that Ainsworth would handle the Morgan situation differently these days.

  • Probably in the same way he handled the Banton and Holloway situations.

  • Yep, no messing.

  • We moan that players are no good and then when one is...we moan that we won't be able to keep them.

  • @Wendoverman This is the Gasroom, you know: a place where people come to have a good moan, then to moan some more about other people moaning :-)

  • Thanks Uncle T...am I also too early for Ainsworth Out?

  • Luke seems to almost be too good to be true character wise. A good guy who has huge passion for football, the type who'd be out playing with a ball anyway.

    Definitely has the potential to be a hit at a bit of a higher level, but probably knows he needs to keep working on his game, and what better place to do it.

  • Luke is a model professional IMO, great advert and role model. Definitely worthy of a contract. If managed well, will be player, we can have around for a few more seasons. It's all about playing and that dollar at the end of the day.

  • I don't think anyone is suggesting that he's not worthy of a contract. On the contrary, I think the fear people have been expressing is that he might be hedging his bets and holding back from accepting whatever contract extension he may have been offered already.

  • @micra; I hear you and fear the inevitable that what's on offer isn't a kings ransom and I too, wouldn't be all that surprised an extension is on the table. Fingers xx

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