After just a year-and-a-half at the club, Michael Sollbauer is set to depart Barnsley in a transfer that may surprise fans, according to reporter Doug O’Kane.
The 31-year-old was signed by former manager Gerhard Struber in January 2020 and slotted right into the Tykes’ defence, helping them to secure their Championship place for the following season with a last day win over Brentford.
And then the Austrian centre-back was a key part of Valerien Ismael’s successful system, playing alongside Mads Andersen and Michal Helik for most of the season as the Yorkshire side climbed into the play-offs at the end of the campaign.
But now Sollbauer is set to be the latest high-profile departure from Oakwell, following Ismael, Alex Mowatt and CEO Dane Murphy out of the door.
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He won’t be reuniting with Ismael at West Bromwich Albion though, as according to O’Kane he has sought a move closer to his family at home in Austria.
It’s unclear as to whether Barnsley will be settling his contract or if a transfer move for a fee is being sorted, but a deal seems close and it looks like Sollbauer has played his last game for the club.
This will be a big blow for Barnsley, who bit by bit are losing the best parts of their whole team from last season’s success.
Obviously no one player or person is bigger than the club, but Sollbauer was reliable and a rock at the back for the Tykes along with Andersen and Helik, so you can understand that fans will be slightly disappointed at this news.
But also when you take into consideration that he has a young family in Austria to think about, you cannot blame him for seeking a move back nearer to them – especially in these uncertain times.
It remains to be seen if Barnsley will get a decent fee for him but he will be surely wished the best by all when his departure is eventually confirmed.