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Current Player What can Peter Kioso bring to Oxford? [SIGNED]

What can Peter Kioso bring to Oxford?

Oxford have added Rotherham right-back Peter Kioso to the squad on a long term contract, and becomes the club’s third signing since the U’s return to the Championship. What can Kioso bring to Oxford, and how is he as a person and player?


Kioso, 24, was born in Dublin and qualifies for both DR Congo and Ireland, with his cousin Pelly Mpanzu playing for the former. The 6’0” full-back signed from Rotherham for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be in the wide range of £350,000-700,000, potentially breaking Oxford’s transfer record should it be on the higher side.

It is good to have another experienced player in our side, as well as a strong, young player who can improve and get better as the season goes on. Steve Evans, Rotherham boss, wanted to keep Kioso but the offer Oxford made was too good to turn down for someone with only one-year left on his deal.

Kioso looks a good signing, but let’s get into more of the specific details of the powerful, pacey defender who spent part of last season at Oxford’s Play-Off Semi-Final opposition, Peterborough United.

Strong points:

One of Kioso’s main strengths is his pace and power down the right hand side, whether it be with or without the ball. His ability to read and form relationships with other players gives him an edge over opposition players as he is able to understand what is required from specific people, whether it be playing the ball in front of a right footed player for a cross or whipping a ball first time quickly into a fox in the box type striker who can immediately have a good chance on goal.

His directness and ability to put the ball in early are both attributes that can massively help a team on the transition and on the counter, which will be something we will continue to take advantage of in the Championship. His power, drive and pace when running makes him a serious threat to defences, as he will cause problems and create goal scoring opportunities from situations that might not have led to anything in other scenarios.


Kioso needs to form a good relationship with Dale/any new right-winger to ensure that he can fully up to speed and play his best, similar to the Henry/Long linkup in recent seasons. He loves to play one-twos and uses his pace and power to get behind defensive lines as well as to fully begin attacks. Ruben Rodrigues and Dale can massively support Kioso by floating around him and providing opportunities to play shorter passes and to then receive the ball back before sending the ball into the box for Mark Harris.


His pace allows him to deliver the ball from different areas, whether it be in wide areas, closer to the box or from the byline. He can pick out players well, and uses his crossing and pick-out ability to find an open player in the box, or to find someone who can continue an attack from a cut-back or further reaching cross. He exploits space that is given up by full-backs, and this allows him to play more transitional and interdependent football with the winger or the furthest right-midfielder

Defensively, Kioso is very solid, good in 1v1s and also at blocking phases of play and contributing to winning back the ball to turnover possession and to start counter attacks. PK himself has said that he believes he can beat any Championship winger defensively, which is very good to see and shows his good attitude towards his own ability and game. Of course, he could still improve defensively, but he sees himself as a full-back first and not more of an attacking player, emphasising that his first job mentally is to ensure that the ball stays out of our goal before attempting to put it in the opposition’s.


Potential areas of weakness:

It is somewhat difficult to find tons of weaknesses or issues with Kioso's game, but I’ve got maybe two or three that I think he can personally improve on to ensure that he can attack and defend to the best of his ability without relying on others to stop attacks or complete them.

Firstly, we have Kioso’s final ball and finishing when in and around the box. I believe that to become more complete and to hit his full potential ability as a player, he needs to be able to add many more goals and assists to his game, especially since he is absolutely capable of doing so based on his current attributes and traits. Going from two goal contributions a year to even just five or six could be a good sign, especially with the raising of the level this season. He needs to be able to be more critical with his chances and final balls, ensuring that the opposition has less of a chance to prevent chances and goal scoring opportunities for himself or other U’s players.

Kioso also needs to look to improve his consistency going forward, as well as his defensive prowess in tackles, making sure he has more of a success rate when it comes to winning the ball and putting us on the counter to transition forward. He had limited opportunities in the Championship with Rotherham, but flourished in a system at Peterborough. Hopefully he can bring his best self to Oxford and give us a more attacking, confident full-back option on our right-side to complement those around him.

Where does he fit into our current XI?:

It is imperative that Kioso is able to build a relationship with our winger and furthest right-midfielder to ensure that he can play to his best and to have all of his strengths in both attack and defence optimised. He can play in both a 4 at the back or a 5 at the back, which gives us great opportunities to rotate in and out of possession when needed, with Vaulks potentially sitting deeper as a sweeping defender/midfielder whilst we are under pressure, and Kioso still acting as a full-back.

Kioso’s ability to read the game and to understand what is necessary of him on and off the ball can hugely help other players within our side to perform to their own abilities whilst also knowing that they have the relationships with each other to be on the same wavelength when it comes to attacking or defending in serious moments. His arrival doesn’t hint at any changes necessarily due to his position, and I do still think that we will keep the 4-1-4-1 as it served us best at the end of last season. As you can see below, Kioso is able to receive the ball from defence or off of midfielders and play it to the right-winger, before running in behind to create an opportunity for a cross, pass or cutback to create a goalscoring opportunity.


From actual build-up play, I can see the right-hand side of Oxford’s defence and attack to be one of the most used areas, with the opposite numbers being more used for second and final third transitions and switches, such as what we saw often with Murphy last season. Kioso will be an integral part of our side next season, and needs to ensure that he keeps his head up and forms friendships and understandings with players around him on and off the pitch.


There were questions raised over Kioso’s mindset and attitude at Rotherham at the end of last season, but I believe that if there were any genuine problems then it was because of how he was recalled from a very successful loan at Peterborough where he was captain and a major fan favourite. The fact he was made captain on loan at Peterborough emphasises his character on and off the pitch, being heralded as ‘Brilliant’ by their Chairman Darragh MacAnthony.

I think he will be a massive addition when it comes to his character and attitude as a player, acting as an unofficial captain at times, as well as supporting the senior players with his mindset and strong personality. It’s great to see us continually signing players who have good references and professional personalities, it will be something that is greatly needed as we begin the adventure that is the EFL Championship.


Peter Kioso, or PK for short, in my opinion could be a fantastic bit of business, should he improve his attacking finality and critical nature. His character and strengths as a person and player give me so much confidence that Ed Waldron, Des Buckingham and the recruitment team have made another great addition.

Thank you for reading, let me know your thoughts on the transfer and this article, I’d love to hear any feedback.

In the meantime Come on you Yellows!​
Thank you for that.
If he thinks that he can beat any Championship winger defensively, he isn't lacking in confidence.
It sounds as if he will do what Des wants ( defend well), but has huge potential to improve us from an attacking perspective ( he could complement Dale).
Oh and it is so important that we have some pace at the back, so the fact that he is quick is another positive.
I really enjoy these. A lot of impressive detail and points to mull. I keep meaning to go back to the last one you wrote about midfield

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