Barnsley are looking to make at least three new signings in the final week of the transfer window while they are hoping to keep hold of all their star players.
The international window – in which five new players arrived at Oakwell but two have already moved on – closed on Monday yet the Reds can still do business with Premier League or EFL clubs until October 16, a week today.
Barnsley are hoping to recruit a striker, central midfielder and at least one full-back.
They are also searching for a new head coach – following Gerhard Struber’s exit for New York Red Bulls this week – but may have to recruit players without his input if they cannot make an appointment before the deadline.
The Chronicle understands that Doncaster Rovers midfielder Ben Whiteman is still a possible target.
The Reds attempted to sign their South Yorkshire rivals’ captain earlier in the window but the two clubs could not agree a fee for the 25-year-old.
Struber said that Whiteman was not immediately ready to slot into the Barnsley first team but his departure is thought to have freed up the Reds to revisit the deal as central midfield is a position in which they are hoping to strengthen. They currently have captain Alex Mowatt, several youngsters including the highly-rated Callum Styles, new signing Isaac Christie-Davies – who is yet to make his debut – and also Mike Bahre who was discarded by Struber but remains at the club.
Barnsley are also hoping to sign a striker, ideally a tall targetman but have struggled to find such a player within their budget who they believe is good enough for the Championship. Although they are mainly looking to make permanent deals, they could potentially dip into the loan market to secure a striker to complement last season’s top-scorers Cauley Woodrow and Conor Chaplin as well as Austrians Patrick Schmidt and Dominik Frieser.
They have promised to reinvest the money received for Jacob Brown, sold for more than £2million to Stoke City last month, back into the squad but are yet to do so while Struber complained about the need for a new striker before leaving. Barnsley are also hoping to bring in at least one wing-back, with Kilian Ludewig and Marcel Ritzmaier having joined their former head coach in leaving Oakwell earlier this week, although to different clubs. The only first team option at right wing-back is Jordan Williams while central midfielders Clarke Oduor and Styles have been used as left wing-backs in the absence of injured Ben Williams.
Meanwhile, chief executive Dane Murphy has insisted that the Reds will keep hold of their remaining key players. Mowatt – whose contract negotiations are not close to being concluded – has been linked with rival Championship clubs this week while Barnsley’s top-scorer Woodrow is thought to have been on the radar of other sides throughout the last two windows.
So far Barnsley have signed Frieser, centre-back Michal Helik, Christie-Davies and Celtic striker Jack Aitchison who came in before the deadline on Monday but was sent out on loan to League Two Stevenage for the season. They had recruited Ludewig on a season-long loan from Red Bull Salzburg but it was cancelled before he was loaned to Schalke 04 in his native Germany.
Chief executive Dane Murphy told the club website: “Kilian was vital to our divisional retention last season and shows the passion we hope every Barnsley player would for their club. Unfortunately his performances were inconsistent this season and the decision was made for him to return to RBZ. Killian is a great kid and we wish him nothing but the best in the future. Whilst we have quality in this position, with players waiting patiently for an opportunity, we will also look to add further permanent depth before the domestic transfer window closes on 16 October.”
Ludewig, 20, played 25 games for the Reds in two loan spells while Ritzmaier played 22 after arriving permanently from Wolfsberger in January. The 27-year-old Austrian midfielder has joined Rapid Wien on loan for the season.
Another right-back Jordan Helliwell, 19, has joined non-league Stalybridge Celtic on loan for a month. The teenager from Barnsley has made one appearance for the Reds in the EFL Trophy in 2018.
Jordan Green has returned from his loan at Southend United due to injury.