BARNSLEY captain Mads Andersen has been sold to Premier League Luton Town for an undisclosed fee.
The 25-year-old Danish centre-back played 175 games for the Reds which is a club record for a non British or Irish player. The fee is thought to be around £3million.
After struggling initially when he joined in 2019, he impressed in the Championship during the behind-closed-doors era in which the Reds stayed up on the last day in 2020 then reached the play-offs the next season.
Having missed much of the relegation campaign in 2021/22 due to injury, he was made captain last summer and was named Player of the Season as well as in League One’s Team of the Season.
It was expected, with one year remaining on his deal, that he would be sold this summer - especially after the Reds lost the play-off final in May.
Chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad told the club website: “Mads’ dedication and professionalism earned the right to honour his wishes and allow him to pursue a new challenge in his career. Recognising this, our priority was ensuring we had the best deal that worked for Barnsley Football Club and secure a valuation we deemed fit for the quality that Mads possesses as a footballer.
“His success whilst with the Club provides further evidence of the excellent player development pathway established at Oakwell, progressing into one of the best defenders in the league last season and adopting a leadership role within our squad.
“Watching his development both as a footballer and human being has been extremely rewarding and it has been a pleasure to have worked with a professional such as Mads.
“Watching his development both as a footballer and human being has been extremely rewarding and it has been a pleasure to have worked with a professional such as Mads."
Andersen added: “My time at BFC has come to an end, and I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and love I have received during my 4 years at Oakwell. It has been years of ups and downs and I have developed a lot as a footballer and as a human being, including being a proud captain for the team the last year.
“I know my choice of movement will disappoint fans, but a life as a footballer is short, and therefore most players have ambitions of playing at the highest level possible. That ambition includes me and already when I was playing in Denmark at AC Horsens, I had a note on my fridge stating the ambition of reaching the Premier League someday.
“I want to thank the coaches, staff and my incredible teammates for this season and for four lovely years at BFC, which I will look back at with joy. I also want to say thank you to Khaled who has supported me in this step upwards. I think BFC is a perfect club for young footballers to get a chance of playing football at a professional level and therefore I am happy that I took this step in 2019."
The Reds, who are unlikely to bring back last season's loan star Bobby Thomas, are expected to sign at least one more centre-back this summer. They have already brought in free agent Kacper Lopata.
Barnsley are due to start the second week of pre-season training today with no head coach as Michael Duff is yet to be replaced following last month's move to Swansea.
Martin Devaney and Tom Harban are currently overseeing training.