Barnsley have a big rebuilding job on their hands this summer as they’ve lost several key personnel both on the pitch and off of it following their success in 2020-21.
Valerien Ismael’s efforts to get the Tykes into the Championship play-offs has seen him snapped up by West Bromwich Albion, who are looking for a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Also heading out of Oakwell is CEO Dane Murphy, who has been one of the influential figures off the field, and he’s heading to Nottingham Forest.
Some players have departed as well, such as defender Michael Sollbauer who has moved to Germany to be closer to his family, and there was also an exit for skipper Alex Mowatt, who has headed to the Midlands to link up with Ismael again.
New Barnsley head coach Markus Schopp has identified that a midfield replacement for Mowatt needs to be found, with his eight Championship goals and seven assists proving very important to the success of the club.
And whilst he may not be a like-for-like midfielder in the mould of Mowatt, MK Dons’ Scott Fraser could be the man to drive the Tykes forward next season.
The 26-year-old Scot is primarily an attacking midfielder and after two seasons at Burton Albion, he really exploded in the 2020-21 season with the Dons, scoring 14 times in 44 League One outings.
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Manager Russell Martin confirmed that a bid had been rejected from an undisclosed club for Fraser’s services, however there’s still discussions going on regarding the offer from that particular club.
It does look as though Fraser will depart this summer but Barnsley are not one of the names that have been in the papers linked to him – but maybe they ought to be.
If the 3-4-3 system that Ismael used so well last season is to be continued with, then Fraser would probably not suit a deep-lying role that Mowatt undertook last season, more often than not partnering Romal Palmer.
However if Schopp decides to implement a system that includes a more traditional attacking midfielder or ‘number 10’, and he used the 4-2-3-1 formation quite a lot at Hartberg, then Fraser could quite easily replace the goal contributions that the Yorkshire side are losing with Mowatt’s exit.
It would likely take a seven-figure bid to prize him away from the Dons, but Fraser looks like exactly the type of signing that Barnsley should be making this summer.