Friday, 8 July 2011

Summer Signings

As promised, this blog will detail signings made the U's thus far this Summer.

i) Andrew Whing (free transfer from Leyton Orient)

Whing was bought in on a free transfer from League 1 Leyton Orient after his contract expired in May. Prior to the O's, he played for Brighton where he won the player's player of the year in 2008 with an overwhelming 77% of the vote. This statistic alone is very encouraging. My only slight concern is over where exactly he will fit into the United set-up, as he is a right-back. Given that Damien Batt was selected for the League 2 team of the year in that same position last season, it seems unlikely that he will push Batt out of the team. Unless Wilder has plans to play him in an alternative position, a season warming the bench beckons for Whing.

Please don't be the next...Jude Stirling

ii) Tony Capaldi (free transfer from Morecambe)

Welshman Capaldi joined Oxford from fellow League 2 side Morecambe. Having played over a hundred games for Plymouth and after representing Cardiff City in the 2008 FA Cup Final, his career took a downward spiral when he joined Morecambe at the beginning of last season. Shortly after joining the Shrimps, he indicated his desire to move on tweeting at how 'rubbish' the team was and slating their backward training methods. If Wilder can get Capaldi to re-create his form of old, this could prove to be an inspired signing, especially as left-back was a problem position for Oxford last season.

Please don't be the next...Kevin Sandwith

iii) Ryan James (from Nike Academy)

Wilder has taken a punt by bringing in unproven centre-back Ryan James from the Nike Academy, a set-up that helps young players join professional clubs. James previously played for the QPR and Millwall academies, primarily as a left-winger, before signing for Grays Athletic in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Since then, James has spent two years at the Nike Academy where he has been converted into a centre-half. Could prove to be a sensational gamble by Wilder.

Please don't be the next...Leo Roget

iv) Jon-Paul Pittman (from Wycombe)

The nippy American forward was released by Wycombe at the end of the season and Oxford acted quickly to secure his signature. Pittman scored against the Yellows in the entertaining score draw with our local rivals at the Kassam last season. Pittman has explosive pace, but his scoring record is worrying. He only managed a pitiful 14 goals in 77 Wycombe outings. However, he will certainly provide Wilder with a spark from the bench next season.

Please don't be the next...Christophe Remy

v) Deane Smalley (from Oldham)

Arguably the pick of Oxford's Summer signings thus far, Smalley was an instrumental figure behind Chesterfield's title winning success in League 2 last year, bagging 12 goals in 28 apparences. He rejected a contract extension with League 1 club Oldham to sign for United, which highlights his desire to join the club. Similarly to Pittman, his scoring record (prior to Chesterfield) is a major cause for concern, as he only managed 10 goals in 105 apparences for the Latics.

Please don't be the next...Marvin Robinson

vi) Michael Duberry (from St. Johnstone)

The most high profile of our Summer captures, Duberry spent six successful years at Chelsea, including an appearance at the Manor Ground in the FA Cup 4th round in 1999, before joining Leeds United for £4.5 million. His time at Elland Road was frustrating though, as his first team outings were limited due to the emergence of the Woodgate-Ferdinand pairing. Since then, he has represented Stoke, Reading, Wycombe and most recently, St. Johnstone in Scotland. Duberry will provide an experienced head off the pitch, but could simply view this as an opportunity to wind-down a career spanning nearly twenty years.

Please don't be the next...Rufus Brevett