A source close to Mansfield Town has exclusively confirmed to Football League World that Barnsley are considering a move for CJ Hamilton this summer.
The 24-year-old was one of many standout performers for the Stags last season, as David Flitcroft’s team narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to MK Dons, before losing in the play-offs to Newport.
With Flitcroft now gone, plenty of clubs are likely to be circling around Hamilton this summer, after scoring 14 goals and producing six assists for the East Midlands side.
Here, FLW writer George Harbey discusses the interest in Hamilton in today’s six-pointer…
Firstly, what did you make of Hamilton last season?
I think he was probably Mansfield’s best player.
Tyler Walker received a lot of the plaudits for his goals up front, and rightfully so, but Hamilton’s contribution down either flank was just magnificent.
Whether it was playing at wing-back or as a forward, he was a regular standout performer for the Stags.
Is he ready for the step-up to the Championship?
I think he’s definitely ready for the step-up, he’s got all the attributes to stand out in the second tier.
Aston Villa and West Brom clearly though that he was good enough, considering that they were both linked with his signature back in January.
He could be a fantastic player for a team like Barnsley, who probably aren’t going to be challenging for promotion nor fighting it out in a relegation battle.
I think he could be a fantastic signing.
Can you see him leaving the One Call Stadium?
It’s very likely.
Hamilton only has one year left on his current deal at Mansfield, so they really do need to be careful this window. Do they sell him this summer, or run the risk of letting him leave potentially on a free transfer next season?
Just look at James Norwood at Tranmere – he has now joined Ipswich on a free transfer, despite being the best player in League Two last term.
How damaging would his departure be to Mansfield?
It would be a major loss for the Stags.
John Dempster will be desperate to keep hold of Hamilton this summer, especially if the likes of Tyler Walker don’t return on loan, which is probably quite unlikely.
Losing Hamilton would mean that they lose some real attacking threat, but on the other hand, they still have some very good players in Otis Khan and Alex Macdonald, who can produce that spark going forward.
Is Barnsley a good move for him?
I think Barnsley is a perfect move for him.
Daniel Stendel needs to add wingers to his squad, and if Luke Thomas arrives from Derby County like latest reports are saying, then that’s another shrewd addition for the Tykes.
Hamilton is likely to be a regular for Barnsley, and their playing style would suit him to a tee.
Finally, how much should Mansfield demand for his services?
Again, it’s a hard one, as this is probably the last time that they can demand a high fee for him.
There were reports claiming that they rejected £750,000 for his services in January, but I think that this is probably the right price for him in all honesty.
They need to be very clever this transfer window.