Former Reading winger and current free agent Jayden Onen has appeared in action for League One side Sheffield Wednesday’s Under-23s, according to The Star.
The 20-year-old was previously linked with a move to Hillsborough in July by the same outlet, although nothing seemed to happen regarding this potential move up until the end of August and this move seemingly being ruled out by Darren Moore after giving potential free agent signings the cold shoulder.
After making a total of 14 signings in the previous window, spending the early parts of the summer under a transfer embargo due to their finances, this was understandable.
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But in a latest development from the Sheffield Star, they have revealed Onen, who can operate in an advanced central midfield position and on the wing, appeared for the Owls Under-23s team on Monday in their clash against Coventry City.
Not only did he appear for the South Yorkshire side, but he also managed to grab an assist and may just have taken a huge stride in earning a permanent deal at Hillsborough.
He recorded an impressive eight goals and three assists in 20 Premier League 2 games for former club Reading last term, but only made two senior appearances for the second-tier side during his time at the Select Car Leasing Stadium and was released on the expiration of his contract this summer.
Examining whether Reading released Onen due to his lack of first-team opportunities is a difficult one because the Royals have needed to make cutbacks after breaching the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules and may have decided to release the 20-year-old at the expense of another senior player.
However, the Berkshire side still have an elite academy and have seen the likes of West Ham United forward Michail Antonio and Crystal Palace playmaker Michael Olise graduate through their youth system in the past, so this is a good sign for Darren Moore’s men.
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His record in Premier League 2 should also be a source of real encouragement for Sheffield Wednesday fans who are sceptical about this potential signing after making so many additions in the summer, although it’s difficult to judge whether he’s ready for first-team football after only making one appearance each for his former side in the Championship and FA Cup, with his appearance in the former coming late in the second half.
If he does sign for Wednesday, it would be no surprise to see him link up with Sheffield Wednesday’s U23s at first, although it wouldn’t be a shock to see him in contention for a place in Darren Moore’s matchday squad at some point this season if he can impress in the youth system.
This is exactly the sort of chance Onen needs as he looks to make his breakthrough in the English game. He may have already made his Championship debut, but he needs to be involved more consistently in senior squads and he will only get better with that experience.
The midfielder will be especially relieved to get this opportunity after failing to win a contract at Doncaster Rovers in the summer.