Liam O'Neil joins Cambridge United on long-term deal
U's swoop for Chesterfield Town midfielder
Cambridge United made a late swoop on transfer deadline day yesterday to sign Liam O’Neil.
The 23-year-old midfielder has moved to the Cambs Glass Stadium for an undisclosed fee from Sky Bet League One side Chesterfield Town.
It means a return to the U’s for O’Neil, who was born in Cambridge and attended Swavesey Village College.
O’Neil was formerly in the Cambridge United Centre of Excellence before its closure in 2005, and then went on to Histon before joining West Bromwich Albion’s academy.
He signed a professional contract with the Baggies in 2012, and made five appearances for the Premier League Club.
Spells out on loan in Finland, with VPS, and at Scunthorpe United followed before he left Albion to join Chesterfield ahead of the 2015/16 season.
O’Neil had been a regular for the Spireites, making nearly 50 appearances, but has now signed a contract with the U’s until June 2020.
“Liam will add great value both on the football pitch with the quality he brings when in and out of possession, but also away from the pitch with what he brings to the community,” said United manager Shaun Derry.
“He is a Cambridge boy returning home and is a fantastic fit for us.
“We’re also delighted to have brought Liam in as a permanent signing, our third of the current transfer window, which is testament to the long-term vision of the club.”
O’Neil joins Paul Lewis and Jake Carroll as the U’s permanent signings this January, while they have also brought in Scott Wharton and Gerry McDonagh on loan.
Ben Strang, Cambridge United’s head of football operations, said: “This concludes a productive window for us and we are thrilled to capture Liam’s signature.
“Our aim ahead of each window is to enhance the squad and to come out stronger than we enter. We believe that we have been successful in achieving this within the window.
“Liam fits the profile of the squad that we continue to assemble and having played almost all of his senior football in League One provides quality and further strength in the group.”