BARNSLEY may have to ‘make room in the squad’ with outgoings while bringing in new signings in the January transfer window says Poya Asbaghi.
The transfer window opens tomorrow and lasts all month.
The Reds cancelled the contract of Austrian striker Dominik Frieser last week and are expected to part company with others players either permanently or on loan.
Defenders Ben Williams and Toby Sibbick, who have not featured under Asbaghi and have been left out of nearly all his matchday squads, are two who could be loaned out or even sold.
The season-long loan of Bayern Munich’s Remy Vita, who has not played, will also be reviewed.
Despite being second-bottom in the Championship, several of Barnsley’s players are thought to be on the radar of other clubs.
Cauley Woodrow – the captain and top-scorer who is currently injured – has been linked with a move to West Bromwich Albion and a reunion with former Reds head coach Valerien Ismael.
But the Baggies are thought to be targeting ex-Red Daryl Dike as their number one option. The likes of Mads Andersen, Michal Helik – who also now has an injury – Callum Styles and Brad Collins are all thought to have admirers.
Helik, 26, and Woodrow, 27, both have 18 months left on their contracts and are thought to be the most likely to leave, if any players do.
Asbaghi has said selling any of those players would be a ‘step back’ but, although Barnsley have not sold a first team regular in January for three years since Brad Potts moved to Preston, their resolve may be tested by bids in this window.
Chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad, who has not been available for interview recently, last spoke publicly two months ago when he told a fans’ meeting that the club may have to move players on to generate the money for January signings.
Asbaghi has been reluctant to talk about transfers.
He said: “My focus has to be on the players in the squad but of course all the clubs are looking at what is out there, and Barnsley is no different.
“There has to be a balance between incomings and outgoings. You have to make room in the squad financially.”
Central midfield Herbie Kane has impressed on loan at League One Oxford United who this week paid an extra fee to remove Barnsley’s recall clause and keep him for the season.
With Kane on loan, Barnsley’s regular central midfielders have been Romal Palmer, 23, Josh Benson, 22, and Claudio Gomes, 21, who are all very inexperienced at Championship level and have struggled for form this season.
Benson and Palmer both had poor games in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Blackburn Rovers.
Asbaghi declined to answer when questioned by the Chronicle if new midfielders had to be recruited in January, but said: “We lost the ball too early and you have to have midfielders protecting and we need to improve this. We lost the ball where it’s difficult to recover.
“You can teach this. It’s about decision making. But if you get too afraid about losing balls you’re never going to learn. It’s a fine margin. We have to have this balance. Hopefully it will not be too late until we do this.”
Asbaghi agreed that more experience in the squad would help, and added: “Of course we need to develop players but I know about the time, the games are going. We cannot say with five games left it is a learning process because we want to stay in the league. Young players can learn fast and the improvement level for them can be faster than an older player. I like to see it in that way.”
Styles, who has played in central midfield but often at left wing-back or behind the striker, said: “They can get a couple of additions, but we have a really good squad already. We’re all really good players but obviously the results aren’t there. Any additions will help but we can do it with this squad.”
Striker Carlton Morris added: “It could be beneficial. It’s never a bad thing to bolster the squad. It’s good to have a little kick up the backside for a few to give them more competition. But we have actually got a strong core here.”