This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Bristol City are lining up a summer move for Robert Atkinson, according to reports from Football Insider.
The central defender has been a key player for Oxford United so far this season, making 44 appearances for Karl Robinson’s side in all competitions.
At 22 years of age the left-sided player looks set for a very bright future, and with Oxford falling short in the play-offs, it means that will have to move away if he’s to be playing in the Championship next term.
So will the Robins be a good place for Atkinson to continue his development?
The team at FLW have their say…
This would be a fantastic signing for Bristol City if they were able to pull it off, although I can imagine a lot of Championship teams will be trying to sign Atkinson this summer.
Obviously WhoScored ratings aren’t the be all and end all, however they have him as the second-best player in the whole division this past season which speaks volumes.
It’s his unique abilities as a tall centre-back in League One that stand out though – he’s very capable of bringing the ball out from the back and marauding up the pitch with it, and he’s comfortable distributing it out as well in lots of different ways.
Atkinson of course possesses an aerial threat standing at 6ft 4in – he showed just that against Blackpool in the play-offs when he scored in the second leg.
Oxford may have conceded six goals over the course of that 180 minutes but that doesn’t make Atkinson a poor defender – he’s very talented and it would be a shock if he isn’t in the Championship at the start of the season, and he could bolster an area for Bristol City that needs quite a bit of strengthening.
I’d be a big fan of this signing.
First and foremost, City need to make defensive reinforcements this summer having just bid farewell to the experienced duo of Nathan Baker and Adrian Mariappa.
Atkinson, then, would provide young blood at the age of 22, and is bound to be full of confidence after going from strength to strength under Karl Robinson this term.
He’s a left-sided centre-half which makes him a potentially attractive acquisition, as he would provide natural balance in the heart of defence.
I like the direction City seem to be going down, being linked with League One stars like Jerry Yates and Atkinson.
Atkinson would be a top signing.
Absolutely, he’s young, left footed and has a lot of potential to improve – these are all boxes that Bristol City would want ticking.
Whether Oxford would be open to selling him however is another matter entirely as they would undoubtedly want to keep the majority of their current side together.
Atkinson is still only 22 and would be a player who could command a significant future fee if the Robins were to pick him up at this stage of his career.
He’d add balance to the backline and overall I think he has enough quality to make the step up to Championship level after excelling at the Kassam Stadium this term.