This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Barnsley are interested in Exeter City striker Matt Jay ahead of the January window but face competition from other EFL sides, Football League World has been exclusively informed.
The 25-year-old has been in excellent form recently and has the likes of Barnsley, Millwall, and Portsmouth watching him.
But would he be a good signing for the Tykes? And do they need him?
We quizzed our FLW writers…
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It was only a matter of time before these sort of clubs came knocking around for Jay.
He scored 18 goals in League Two last season operating mainly as a number 10, and has already scored five goals in 11 games this term.
Technically he is very good and plays mainly as a second striker, but can also pick out a pass and find spaces in and around the final third.
Barnsley normally deploy quite a fluid, free-flowing front three and I could see Jay slotting nicely in any of those positions.
He would be a shrewd signing.
Have Barnsley ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
It is certainly an interesting one because he looks too good to be operating in England’s fourth-tier, however, the Championship is a massive step up.
I personally think he has what it takes to become a second-tier player. He possesses the technical ability and vision to consistently create chances, whilst he also has the goalscoring touch.
Jay is someone who always wants the ball and will never shy away from possession when the going gets tough. An attribute that looks increasingly important if he does make the move to The Tykes, with the club having several ball-playing midfielder in their ranks.
Jay has what it takes to make the step up, but it will take some adjustment for him. He is entering the prime years of his career, making it an excellent title for a Championship club to make their move.
Jay isn’t a typical big potential Exeter sale in the sense that he’s not in his early 20’s or teens like an Ollie Watkins, Matt Grimes, or Etham Ampadu when the Grecians cashed in on that particular trio.
At 25, the attacking midfielder will be hitting his prime soon and it does feel like he’s outgrown League Two a bit looking at his output since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Championship is a massive step up though, however, Barnsley are clearly missing a creative spark within their ranks judging by their early-season performances
Could Jay provide the one thing they’re lacking if he completes a mid-season transfer? I’m not convinced – a League One move seems to be a better fit for Jay for my liking but most clubs at that level may not have the finances to get a deal done.
The only way of actually seeing if Jay is Championship quality is signing him though so in Barnsley’s case it may be worth a punt.