Bradford City Dealt Major Transfer Blow

Swindon Town midfielder Jonny Williams has turned down the opportunity to join Bradford City at the eleventh hour in order to make a switch to fellow League Two side Gillingham, according to Simon Parker from Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

Former Welsh international Williams was set to sign for the Bantams from Swindon on a three-year-deal with the club ready to meet his wage demands with terms already agreed, however, it is understood that Gillingham have swooped in for his signature right at the death in order to join Neil Harris’ side, with his agent informing the club of his decision hours before the midfielder was due to have a medical at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Who is Jonny Williams?

Making his breakthrough at Crystal Palace, Jonny Williams was on the books at Selhurst Park between 2011 and 2019 in which he made 70 appearances in total for the South London side, scoring once in a spell that also included loans at the likes of Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest, MK Dons and Sunderland.

Following his departure from Crystal Palace, Williams would make the switch across London in order to join Charlton Athletic in January 2019, scoring twice and assisting six times in 66 appearances for the club over two years as he helped Charlton return to the Championship, beating former club Sunderland in the 2019 League One playoff final at Wembley.

A spell at Cardiff City followed before the 29-year-old dropped down to League Two to sign for Swindon Town in August 2021. During his time at the County Ground, Williams would make 84 appearances for the Robins, scoring 15 goals and assisting ten times for the club before being released at the end of the 2022/23 season.

Williams has also represented Wales at international level, appearing 33 times for his country and scoring two goals in call-ups that have seen the midfielder be part of a Welsh squad that was involved in the delayed 2020 Euros, as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A change of heart

Williams’ agent rang Bradford City late on Tuesday evening to inform the Bantams of the Welshman’s sudden change of heart as he looks to now pursue an opportunity presented to him by Gillingham, with follow-up messages sent to Bradford in the morning to confirm his decision just two hours before he was due to undergo a medical at the club.

Following his last-minute decision, Williams now looks to be joining a club on the up following their takeover of American Brad Galinson midway through last season and are already getting to work on improving their squad, with the 29-year-old expected to be the Gills’ second summer arrival following the permanent transfer of defender Conor Masterson from QPR.

As for the Bantams, it is now back to the drawing board for them as they look to have another go at promotion following their sixth-place finish last campaign and defeat to Carlisle United in the playoffs, with their only signing of the summer so far coming in the form of left-back Clarke Oduor after being released from League One Barnsley.

Writer’s View

For a little while now, it looked nailed on that Jonny Williams was set to join up with Bradford City and team up with fellow countryman Mark Hughes but this last-minute swoop from Gillingham has brought a complete shock to the system, with the side based in Kent now about to secure his signature.

It’s a massive blow for Bradford City as he’s a player who possesses real quality in his game but in saying that, it’s certainly a statement of intent signing for Gillingham I feel. He’s someone who can add that little bit of magic for the Gills as they look to compete at the right end of the League Two table in the upcoming season.

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