The rumour mill is in full swing already, but one player that Preston North End have now been linked with a few times is Luke O’Nien.
The versatile Sunderland player was part of the side that was knocked out of the play-offs by Michael Appleton’s Lincoln City last week.
The Black Cats are set for a fourth successive season in League One but it is thought O’Nien is ready to play at a higher level. He has made over 100 appearances for the club since joining from Wycombe Wanderers in 2018.
Football League World have suggested Millwall, Middlesbrough and Luton Town along with Preston are interested in the 26-year-old, whilst Lancs Live have reported O’Nien has been on the club’s radar for some time now.
Our own Olly Dawes included him on his recent article on ‘Three League One players Preston can now target’, with O’Nien still on the radar.
Whilst O’Nien splits the opinion of many Sunderland fans there’s no doubting the fact he can play in numerous positions will appeal to Preston and Frankie McAvoy.
According to football stat site WhoScored, O’Nien made the majority of his appearances as a centre-back this season, sometimes part of a back three. Sunderland did struggle with a lot of injuries this season inlcuding former North Ender Bailey Wright, so O’Nien was able to fill the void on occasions.
He also played at right-back, and centre-midfield. It would be the defensive options that would suit Preston, having already got numerous players in midfield. O’Nien, who is eligible to play for Singapore through his Grandfather, faces a big decision this summer with his Sunderland contract set to expire.
They have offered him a new deal, along with another former Preston player Aiden McGeady. It looks as if he will fancy a chance in the Championship however, after another near miss with The Mackems.
There’s a big summer of recruiting ahead of many clubs, and Luke O’Nien won’t be short of offers by the sounds of it, so may take his time before making his next career step.