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 have shocked many this season and look on course to qualify for the Championship play-offs.
Callum Styles has been one of their most exciting players this term, drawing links to Premier League clubs in the process (Sunday Mirror 14/02:Page 70), but could he leave if they don’t secure promotion?
We asked our FLW writers for their thoughts…
This will be a question you will ask of a few Barnsley players heading into the summer if they don’t win promotion to the Premier League.
Styles will attract interest whether that’s from the lower end of the Premier League or the top end of the Championship, it’s just the way it is.
For Barnsley, it’s going to be important that if they don’t win promotion to the Premier League, their good work isn’t all in vein.
They need to ensure this is a building block and not a one-off.
That might be easier said than done, though, with Styles and a few others sure to be attracting serious interest after their exploits in the Championship this season.
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I think we could see him move in all honesty.
Barnsley have some quality players and that has led them to where they are in the Championship but, like any side, that means you get attention from higher up and the risk of no promotion is that big teams begin to really circle.
Styles, along with the likes of Alex Mowatt and Daryl Dike, will naturally attract interest this summer – perhaps even if the Tykes are promoted – but at least if they do go up they’ve given themselves the best chance of holding on to them.
I think that interest in Styles will be high this summer to a point where I can see a Premier League team bidding enough for Barnsley to accept.
The 20-year-old has nailed down that left-wing-back role at Oakwell having naturally been a central midfielder, and quite a few teams in the top flight play with a three centre-back and wing-back system.
He’d fit in at the likes of Newcastle and Wolves amongst other teams and he’s been such a revelation this season that it’s hard to see him still being in the Championship next season.
Even though the Tykes won’t want to lose him, their whole transfer model is finding players young and cheap then selling them on for profit, and that’s exactly what Styles would represent – hence why I can see him moving on.