After a fantastic run to get to the Championship play-offs last season, Barnsley are finding out the hard way that the second tier of English football can drop you very, very quickly.
The months that have followed the Tykes’ semi-final loss to Swansea City have been especially rough as they lost a head coach, a captain and a CEO and then the replacement for Valerien Ismael in Markus Schopp did not prove to be up to much.
Poya Asbaghi has now been tasked with the man to bring the Yorkshire side out of trouble and towards safety but it’s not going to plan so far, with just two points from a possible 12 since the Swede arrived.
Quiz: What club did Barnsley sign each of these 29 players from?
The January transfer window is fast approaching though and that could give Asbaghi a chance to freshen up the squad – or it could bring unwanted interest in some of Barnsley’s top talents.
Let’s look at three talking points transfer-wise that could occur as 2022 looms.
Styles interest to be renewed?
Despite playing in a struggling side, Callum Styles is still the golden boy of Barnsley’s team and if the Tykes are relegated to League One next season then he’s far too good to be playing there.
Styles is always a threat when he gets on the ball and four goals and three assists from wing-back in a successful side last season caught the attention of Premier League clubs.
Brighton and Burnley – a club that released Styles as a teenager – were said to be interested earlier in 2021 and you just wonder if those clubs could re-emerge in January knowing that Barnsley are struggling on the pitch in an attempt to turn the 21-year-old’s head mid-season.
Time to end Vita’s loan?
Despite no-one knowing too much about the player, it was exciting to see Barnsley bring in a Bayern Munich talent in the form of Remy Vita on loan in the summer.
Fast forward a few months though and the 20-year-old Frenchman is yet to make an appearance for the Yorkshire side in what must be a thoroughly miserable time for him right now.
The left-back has not been in the matchday squad for two of Asbaghi’s four matches in charge and when January comes around the thought must surely be with the club to let Vita go and seek a new left-sided player to bring in.
New wingers a necessity?
Whilst Barnsley’s new Swedish head coach favours a 4-2-3-1 formation, the decision was made from the Huddersfield match to switch to a more familiar 3-4-3 that hasn’t really worked since the beginning of the campaign.
The Tykes have quite a few strikers on their books but not many natural wingers, so if the 4-2-3-1 is going to work for Asbaghi then he’s going to have to sign some wide players in January.
If that doesn’t happen then Barnsley risk going through the motions for the rest of the season and lacking any real creativity – something which they desperately need a lot more of if they’re going to work their way out of relegation trouble.