Rotherham United are flying in League One, having won four on the bounce and climbed up to the top of the table.
Newcastle United loanee Dan Barlaser has been a key part of the Millers’ success, starting 27 times times and providing two goals and two assists.
According to the Daily Mail, Barlaser’s performances have not gone unnoticed and he has turned the heads of a string of Championship sides.
The 22-year-old’s contract is set to expire at Newcastle in the summer and it is understood that Hull City, Wigan Athletic, and Rotherham, are among the sides hoping to sign him in that eventuality.
But what exactly does the midfielder offer and why are they all so keen to sign him in the summer?
We put a spotlight on his performances for Paul Warne’s side this season to find out just that.
With Semi Ajayi and Will Vaulks both leaving in the summer, Rotherham headed into the 2019/20 campaign without two of their key midfield options from last term.
Barlaser was brought in on a season-long loan from Newcastle in July 2019 and has become a key figure in the Millers side, making 27 appearances in all competitions.
What the 22-year-old has proven in nearly 2000 minutes of football for Rotherham is that he has all the characteristics to suggest he could be a complete central midfielder in the future, in the sense that he offers a lot both with and without the ball.
On the surface, his attacking statistics–two goals and two assists–are not overwhelmingly impressive, but looking deeper we can see that he is someone that plays a key role in the Millers’ efforts in the final third and has contributed to them scoring the most goals in the division this season.
With the ball, Barlaser has shown a lot of positivity and often looks to push his side upfield himself–as evidenced by the 23 progressive runs he has made so far this season.
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In the final third itself, he is someone that is constantly looking to create opportunities and has provided 46 shot assists for his teammates in the current campaign.
His distribution has been impressive as well, the 22-year-old averages 39.49 passes per game, at a success rate of 80%, and the most key passes of any player in the squad, 2.2 (Whoscored).
Out of possession, Barlaser is certainly not someone that shirks his defensive responsibilities. The central midfielder has a high work rate and reads the game well–winning 71.2% of his defensive duels and averaging 4.3 interceptions per game.
What Barlaser’s statistics prove is that he offers a little bit of everything to Rotherham and has exactly the sort of skillset that you’d be looking for in a central midfielder.
In that sense, you can see why there is such interest in him and you’d have to question why Newcastle are willing to let him walk away for nothing.