Blue Square Bet
Published 14th May 2012
....Championship side Burnley.
The 20-year-old defender is on the radar of a number of Championship clubs, with play-off semi-finalists Birmingham City and Cardiff City also thought to be tracking the Leicester City graduate.
O’Neill has been a star of the season for Mansfield, who came close to a return to the Football League four years after dropping out, but were beaten in their Conference Promotion play-off semi-final with York City. Blessed with height and pace, the former England Youth international loves to get forward and link with attacking players, as well as put crosses into the box, and is a threat at set pieces.
As such, he would be the right fit for Clarets boss Eddie Howe, who prefers his full-backs to have an attacking influence.
O’Neill has similar attributes to the Clarets’ player of the season, Kieran Trippier, who has been linked to Newcastle United just months after making his loan move from Manchester City permanent in January.
Burnley have not yet received any firm offers for Trippier, however, and are keen to hang onto the England under-21 international, with a view to bringing in an understudy.
Sources close to Mansfield believe that is a situation that would suit O’Neill in the early stages, as he adapts to making the step up.
With just one year left to run on his contract, the Slough-born defender would also only command a modest transfer fee.
Mansfield sold Tom Naylor to Derby County for a six-figure fee in January. O’Neill, however, would be expected to cost in the region of £50,000 or £60,000, although it is likely that the Stags would want this to be bulked up by add-ons and sell-on clauses.