BARNSLEY have rejected a bid for captain Liam Kitching from Coventry City this week, the Chronicle understands.
The bid is thought to be for £2.5million, rising to £3million with add-ons, by last season’s Championship play-off finalists who are managed by ex Reds boss Mark Robins.
Centre-back Kitching was made captain last week and signed a new contract last season until 2026 with a club option for another year. He is thought to be keen to test himself at a higher level.
But the Reds are thought to have a higher valuation for him and reluctant to lose more assets after selling captain Mads Andersen to Luton while last season’s loan star Bobby Thomas also joined Coventry from Burnley.
Kitching played on Saturday as the Reds began their campaign, and Neill Collins’ tenure as head coach, with a 7-0 win over Port Vale – their best ever opening day result and their largest victory since 1950. They then lost on penalties to League Two Tranmere Rovers in the EFL Cup after making seven changes, with Kitching not playing. Now they visit Bristol Rovers on Saturday before hosting Peterborough on Tuesday.
The transfer window is due to close on September 1, in three weeks.
The Reds are thought to be due a financial windfall following the multi-million sale of their former striker Jacob Brown from Stoke to Luton, due to a sell-on clause which is thought to be 20 per cent of the profit.
They were urgently looking to bring in a centre-back last week then did so in Frenchman Mael de Givegney, who did not have international clearance as of yesterday.
The Reds have been without midfielders Josh Benson, Luca Connell and Adam Phillips due to injury, illness and suspension respectively while defenders Conor McCarthy, Robbie Cundy and Corey O’Keeffe are also injured. Most are expected back in the coming weeks.
Collins said the coaching and recruitment staff would have a meeting after playing Oxford United on August 19.
Before news of the Kitching bid broke, Collins told the Chronicle: “We are relatively calm. It will be a day by day process of assessing the squad and what is available in the market and seeing if there is anything out there to help us. We’re just looking at quality not quantity, if we’re looking to add.
“I am definitely not sitting here saying we need to sign loads of players.
“Once we get most of these guys back, it makes competition keen.”
Has Collins been given assurances that no more first team regulars will be sold?
“It’s always fluid. That will be the owners’ decision ultimately. If someone comes in with a bid which they believe is suitable for the club, they will consider and discuss it. But everyone has their price, and unless someone is willing to pay that, we expect them to stay.”
Striker James Norwood was sold last week to National League club Oldham Athletic. That left the Reds with last season’s top-scorer Devante Cole, who hit a hat-trick on Saturday, summer signings Max Watters and Andy Dallas – with the latter netting on debut against Port Vale – and Oli Shaw. They also have youngsters Aiden Marsh and Fabio Jalo, who impressed in the cup in midweek.
“James Norwood is someone who will be missed, he scored 11 goals last year. We have to find out if we have guys in the build who can replicate that. We will get more answers on that the more we play. Saturday was a good start. If we get how we want to play right and work together, those goals will be filtered through the team. But obviously we want our strikers to be scoring.”
Aaron Leya Iseka remains at Oakwell but has not featured in any games under Collins so far. The Reds are thought to be looking to move on the Belgian striker, who has two years left on his lucrative contract and was loaned out for the majority of last season. Collins said: “Unless we start playing with three or four strikers, it is difficult to fit everyone in. Aaron has been ill and missed three or four days but he’s back now. Fabio Jalo did really well the other night and Aiden Marsh scored. We have six or seven strikers and we’re probably going to start two and bring two off the bench.”