Barnsley midfielder Alex Mowatt is facing a massive decision over his potential long-term future this summer with his contract set to expire at Oakwell.
Mowatt is a player whose stock has risen very highly over the last year or so, with his performance for the Tykes in the Championship demonstrating that he is amongst the best in the division in the midfield area.
A tally of eight goals and seven assists in his 46 games for Barnsley in the regular campaign highlights the real threat he carries bursting forwards from the middle of the park.
However, there is more to Mowatt than just scoring and creating chances. The midfielder’s energy and work rate off the ball sometimes goes unnoticed by those who do not watch him week in, week out.
These qualities though were absolutely essential to the way that Valerien Ismael was setting the Tykes up. As was his ability to aggressively close down opponents and win the ball back, which ultimately proved vital for their success in reaching the play-offs.
The 26-year-old’s performances earned him a place in the Championship’s Team of the Season, and it was no less than he was deserving of for his performances.
Given Mowatt’s quality, there is no surprise that he has been attracting interest ahead of the summer with his contract running down. Football League World previously revealed interest from all of Millwall, Middlesbrough and QPR in the former Leeds United man.
Millwall manager Gary Rowett even confirmed that the Lions had attempted to lure the midfielder to them in the January transfer window. However, Ismael’s side managed to keep hold of Mowatt and as a result, were able to make it to the Championship play-off semi-finals.
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Barnsley’s CEO Dane Murphy has now suggested to the club’s official club website that there is confidence Mowatt can be convinced to remain with the Tykes this summer.
He also insisted that the Yorkshire club remains the best possible destination for him despite admitting there is plenty of interest in him.
Murphy is absolutely spot on.
Mowatt’s choice from the outside might appear to be a difficult one and there are merits to a potential switch to all three of Millwall, Middlesbrough and QPR. Some might feel Barnsley have missed out on their one realistic chance of earning promotion after they were beaten by Swansea City in the play-offs. They might, therefore, think that he should leave.
However, Barnsley’s success this season is not something that will likely just fizzle out. That would be to discredit the quality within their squad and manager.
While it would also ignore the planning that has gone on behind the scenes at Oakwell. As long as Ismael remains, the Tykes have every chance of being just as competitive in the Championship next term.
Mowatt knows his game is continuing to be developed under Ismael, he will also be aware that he is the go-to player for the Tykes in terms of being the one they look towards for inspiration on the field. The 26-year-old would be benefitted by signing a new deal and continuing on that trajectory.
If there were Premier League clubs interested, then Mowatt would be right to strongly consider his future. However, Barnsley have every bit of a chance of competing again next term as the three clubs he has been linked with most strongly.
As a result, Mowatt should put pen to paper at Barnsley and continue to be a crucial member of their promising squad for next season.
It is a decision that he would likely not regret in a year’s time and, if he carries on performing well, then there will be chances for him to potentially make a better move than the ones that are options this window.