Former Oxford United Standout Joins Championship Rivals

Former Oxford United midfielder Shandon Baptiste has signed for fellow Championship side Luton Town according to the club’s official website.

Baptiste would turn out 43 times in all competitions for the U’s and showed plenty of promise having come through the club’s academy.

Despite never being a mainstay in the Oxfordshire outfit’s first team for that long, Baptiste’s talent was evident and he’d earn himself a rather large move to then-Championship side Brentford back in the January of 2020. That move would benefit all parties with Oxford receiving a decent bit of money for the midfielder, whilst Baptiste would continue his progression with the Bees, eventually moving up to the Premier League with them after winning the play-offs in the 2020/21 season.

A knee injury would keep him out for more or less the entire of the promotion-winning season, but he would go onto make 22 appearances in the top flight the following season. Since then, the 26-year-old has racked up 55 Premier League appearances, albeit the majority of those being off of the bench.

Having fallen down the pecking order at the Bees, Baptiste has been released, with Luton now picking him up on a free transfer. Following their relegation to the second tier, the Hatters will be targeting an immediate promotion, and Baptiste will certainly boost their midfield ranks.

Despite not having the best record with injuries, he will bring experience which will help some of the younger players at Kenilworth Road.

Speaking to club media after the signing of Baptiste, the club’s first of the summer, manager Rob Edwards said:

“We’re really excited to get Shandon in. I know I always say this about our players, but he’s a great person.

“I’ve had a few chats with him and he was really keen on joining us, it wasn’t a hard sell for me. I think he’s seen from the outside what we’re about and wanted to join and help us.

“He’s such a talented footballer. He’s someone who can take the ball, he can drive past people. I think he’s an exciting player, and technically very good, so we’re looking forward to getting him into the group.

“He’s at a good age, he wants to get back to the Premier League and he ticks a lot of boxes. He’s got a lot of experience, but he’s got something to prove as well, so he’s hungry.”

Writer’s View

Despite there being significant risks attached to the signing of Baptiste, specifically his injury history, it could well be a decent acquisition by Edwards. As the manager mentioned, he does have something to prove, which could serve him well and we may see the midfielder back at his best.

At 26, there’s still room for improvement and after not a load of football over the last two seasons, we may have not seen the best of the midfielder just yet.

After breaking onto the scene at Oxford, Baptiste continued his progression with Brentford initially but due to that said lack of minutes, has somewhat regressed over the last season or two. Nonetheless, if getting consistent minutes, he could be a star at Kenilworth Road, providing he stays injury free…

About Ivan Newsome 552 Articles
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