Barnsley are close to completing a hat-trick of new signings this week, which would likely leave them focusing on the possible addition of a new left wing-back for the new Championship season.
The Reds made their second signing of the summer earlier this week, recruiting striker Belgian Obbi Oulare having brought in his fellow forward Devante Cole last month.
Central midfielder Josh Benson joined from Premier League Burnley last night.
They are understood to be very close to signing another Belgian striker, and Oulare’s former team-mate, Aaron Leya Iseka from Toulouse. The deal could be done today or over the weekend.
While the Oulare fee is thought to be relatively low, the others are more expensive and the Benson deal could be worth more than £1million including all clauses.
Head coach Markus Schopp has said he wants to complete all business before the first game of the season at Cardiff City a week tomorrow. Chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad has been serving his notice with former employer the City Football Group with co-chairman Paul Conway and Schopp working to recruit in the transfer window which remains open until August 31.
This week’s triple swoop is expected to leave Barnsley chasing a new left wing-back to tick all their boxes for recruitment this summer, providing they keep hold of all their current star players which they have been determined to do.
The Chronicle understands there have been no bids for any of Barnsley’s star players such as Michal Helik, Mads Andersen, Callum Styles, Callum Brittain and Cauley Woodrow.
All of those players are contracted until at least 2023 and outgoing chief executive Dane Murphy said earlier in the summer that the Reds would not let any of them leave for anything less than £5million, which they do not expect any clubs to bid this summer.
But other players are likely to leave.
Elliot Simoes is thought to be very close to a permanent move to one of Barnsley’s ‘sister clubs’ – AS Nancy in the French second division.
The 21-year-old Angola international has not played for the Reds since November and struggled on loan to Doncaster Rovers in League One earlier this year. Nancy have former Barnsley chief executive Gauthier Ganaye and head coach Daniel Stendel.
Marcel Ritzmaier’s future is unclear, but the arrival of Benson would increase the likelihood that the 28-year-old Austrian will leave the club.
Isaac Christie-Davies could also be loaned out or sold this summer.
The 23-year-old midfielder signed a three-year contract with the Reds in the summer of 2020 but is yet to make his debut and was loaned out in February to Slovakian club DAC where he played his first senior games.
He is understood to have been playing with the under 23s in pre-season.
Benson is set to join a central midfield department that includes fellow 21-year-old Callum Styles, who played at left wing-back last season, and 22-year-olds Romal Palmer and Herbie Kane.
With Styles playing regularly in midfield, a new left-back could be required to compete with Ben Williams, although right-footed Jordan Williams has played there in pre-season.
Striker Conor Chaplin moved to Ipswich Town this week and is unlikely to be the last forward to leave Oakwell this summer.
The Reds’ forwards include top-scorer Cauley Woodrow, Carlton Morris, who impressed after arriving in January, summer signings Cole and Oulare, and Schopp’s fellow Austrian Dominik Frieser who has been involved in pre-season again after injury.
Clarke Oduor has impressed in the front three in pre-season.
With another striker likely to arrive in Iseka, the likes of Victor Adeboyejo and George Miller – who has also been used as a wing-back – could find their gametime limited and potentially be loaned or sold later in August.
Adeboyejo is currently recovering from an injury and spoke this week of focusing on a return to full fitness, ‘enjoying my football’ and competing for a place in Schopp’s forward line.
Oulare and Iseka would be Barnsley’s first Belgian players. The Reds are able to sign them despite post-Brexit employment rules because of their experience in club and youth international football.