Gary O’Neil completes Bristol City move after rejecting new Norwich City deal
- Credit: Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd
Gary O'Neil has agreed to join Norwich City's Championship rivals Bristol City on a free transfer.
The midfielder had a medical on Wednesday night ahead of signing a two-year contract to join the Ashton Gate club.
O'Neil had been offered a new deal to stay with the relegated Canaries by Alex Neil, with his current contract set to officially expire at the end of this month.
Bristol City confirmed the move on Thursday afternoon and Robins' head coach Lee Johnson is looking forward to working with the experienced operator.
'Gary is a really good signing for us, who adds everything we need to our midfield,' said Johnson, on his club's official site. 'He's very experienced, having won promotion from the Championship on four occasions. He may have just turned 33, but he's still fully mobile and very fit.
'He's a really good decision maker who can be a coach's eyes and ears on the pitch, whilst also adding value to our younger players by helping us to manage games tactically – both in and out of possession.
'It's important for us to get the balance right between youth and experience, and he's a fantastic character to have around the club. I'm thoroughly looking forward to working with him.'
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O'Neil used his personal Twitter account to post a farewell message to Norwich fans.
He tweeted: 'Firstly I would like to thank everyone involved with Norwich City for a really enjoyable two years, including the fantastic day at Wembley. The great support we received last season while we were struggling is something that I will remember for a long time. I wish the players, staff and supporters all the best for the future.
'I'm now thoroughly focused and looking forward to starting my new challenge on July 1 at Bristol City. After speaking with the manager, Lee Johnson, I was instantly drawn in by the plan and project that the club is embarking on. Hopefully my experience can help an already exciting, young and talented squad achieve Premier League status. Thank you to the Bristol City fans for your early welcoming tweets.'
O'Neil established himself as a regular Premier League starter last season at Norwich and captained the side on numerous occasions over the run-in.
The former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, West Ham and QPR midfielder made 31 top flight appearances for Norwich and forged an impressive partnership alongside Jonny Howson before the club's player-of-the year suffered a late-season ending.