Barnsley are currently enjoying an exceptional period of form under Valérien Ismaël and are looking on course to potentially secure a place in the play-offs.
The Tykes have been arguably the Championship’s standout team for the last few months with them having now managed to win eight of their last nine matches in the league. Barnsley’s 3-2 win at play-off rivals Bournemouth on Saturday underlined their credentials and cemented their place inside the top-six with them now holding a five-point advantage on the Cherries in 7th.
One of the main reasons why Barnsley are performing so well at the moment is down to the use of the squad by Ismaël, especially at the top end of the pitch. He has been able to make continuous changes throughout matches to keep the side fresh and able to press high for 90 minutes. That was again evident against Bournemouth at the weekend.
One player who has proved to be crucial to that planning is late January signing Daryl Dike, who has been a key performer for the Tykes in the last few months and once again came off the bench and made a positive impression against the Cherries. So far, the 20-year-old has managed to register three goals in nine Championship appearances for the Tykes (Sofascore).
The attacker’s form has already unsurprisingly seen him start to attract the attentions of other clubs, with parent club Orlando City now potentially facing a huge battle on their hands to keep hold of him. A report from BBC Sport last week revealed that the MLS outfit have already turned down an offer of around $10 million (£7.2 million) from an unmanned Premier League side.
The 20-year-old is believed to have a release clause in his current deal for around $20 million (£14.4 million), while Orlando are thought to be ready to recall him from his loan spell early when the MLS campaign gets underway next month.
Losing Dike for the promotion run-in would be a huge blow for the Tykes. However, they should still have enough in their squad to get over the line and secure a top-six finish. Were Barnsley to end up earning promotion then you feel they should go all out to bring the attacker in on a permanent deal.
For a fee of around £14 million, the Tykes could have a real asset on their hands who could thrive in the Premier League. The 20-year-old fits the Barnsley model in terms of recruiting young and hungry players and he would not need time to get to grips with their system and style of play.
Bringing in players unfamiliar with the system is often a mistake newly promoted sides make in their first transfer windows that cost them with relegation so that could be avoided here with this move.
Ismael would need firm backing in the summer if he takes them up, and with the Premier League money that could come their way you feel Dike returning permanently is something they should pursue.