Barnsley captain Andy Yiadom is the name on everyone’s lips at present. He’s being linked with moves to clubs such as Leeds United after a super season at Oakwell.
Whilst he’s known to Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom, it isn’t just a case of him going back to his old club to grab what he can. Yiadom has been excellent on the right side of Barnsley’s defence, but he can also switch to the left to bring versatility to a squad.
The Ghanaian international started out at Hayes and Yeading, earning an England C call up before switch to Ghana after arriving at Oakwell via Barnet and Braintree. With every passing game his stock increases and he’s the subject of our latest FLW spotlight.
This is only his second season at Oakwell, but it might not have panned out that way had a move to Premier League side Huddersfield not collapsed in the summer. He returned to Barnsley after completing a medical to line up once again in the Championship.
He then suffered further transfer heart break when Swansea agreed a deadline day deal, only for that to also fall through. Returning to Barnsley for a second time must have shown tremendous strength of character.
The struggling Tykes will be glad he did as he’s been vital in their quest to avoid relegation. In the modern game a full back needs to have both creative and defensive qualities, so his 53% tackle rate reflects the dirtier side of being a defender.
He’s just under six feet tall, but still involves himself in many aerial duels, winning 52%. Those stats mop up his defensive duties nicely, but there’s much more to Andy Yiadom than tackling and heading.
He’s made 25 appearances at both right back and left back, with an excellent 69% pass completion rate. On average he makes 38.2 passes per game, demonstrating that he’s had to be a jack of all trades as Barnsley fight in the bottom six, but he’s become a master of all.
He can even weigh in with an assist or three, perhaps an aspect of his game that could develop in a team that doesn’t rely on him getting up and down the line quite as much as he has to at present. he’s currently playing the defensive card just as much as the attacking one, but his qualities extend further than a workmanlike full back.
The 26-year old has come up the hard way, fighting through the non-league scene and again through the lower echelons of the Football League.
He’s now got international honours to his name and looks a certainty to make a big-money move this summer.
I personally think Leeds United would be aiming too low, he’d be a lovely fit at Swansea, Bournemouth or another of those Premier League sides willing to take a change on hard work and persistent progress.