It was widely expected to happen and now West Bromwich Albion have confirmed their first signing of the Valerien Ismael era.
And the Frenchman has returned to familiar surroundings to secure his first new player as former Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt has been snapped up.
Having played for the Tykes for four-and-a-half years, Mowatt let his contract run down at the the club after having his best season yet, where he scored eight goals and notched seven assists as he led Barnsley to the Championship play-offs.
Club officials were hopeful that the 26-year-old would extend his stay in South Yorkshire, but when Ismael’s move to The Hawthorns was confirmed it seemed pretty apparent that Mowatt’s next destination could be in the Midlands.
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And that’s exactly where it is as Ismael has quickly bolstered a position that looked pretty thin in terms of depth, with just Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers as senior options in the engine room before Mowatt’s arrival.
As you can expect Baggies fans are delighted with the deal to bring Mowatt in – especially on a free transfer – take a look at their reaction as the transfer has been confirmed.
Looks a class player, a real creative force in midfield and experience of this league, EXACTLY what we need, welcome to the Baggies @alex_mowatt 🤩
— Sarah 💜🏴 (@sarah_WBAx) July 2, 2021
Best midfielder in the championship 😍😍
— J͓̽o͓̽n͓̽a͓̽s͓̽🇮🇹 (@ToastedJonas) July 2, 2021
Amazing 👏👏 welcome to the club 👍
— Gavin Kisley (@gavlarkiz) July 2, 2021
Brilliant signing and especially on a free! #coyb
— The Hawthorns Debate Club (@HawthornsClub) July 2, 2021
Ohhhhh yesssss 😍
— Lewis Trout (@lewis_trout1) July 2, 2021
— Sukhveer Bhachu (@SINGH_WBA) July 2, 2021
Top signing👏 https://t.co/w6b85hAC08
— Alfie🇬🇧 (@AlfieWba) July 2, 2021
Smart signing, well done Albion https://t.co/ftpautDDs2
— Mitch Sprigg (@wba_mitch) July 2, 2021