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…
After saying his goodbyes to Barnsley fans on Instagram yesterday, Alex Mowatt was announced as a West Brom player at noon today and links up with former boss Valerien Ismael ahead of next season.
The former Barnsley captain, 26, departed Oakwell as a free agent on the expiry of his contract and with Ismael now in the hot seat at the Hawthorns, the Baggies were quickest to act on this and have tied the midfielder down to a three-year contract.
With the French manager and Mowatt collaborating so well last year and the latter recording eight goals and seven assists in the Championship last season as they fired the Tykes to the play-offs, Baggies fans will be hoping he can have a similar impact in the West Midlands.
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Many supporters at the Hawthorns would have heard good things about the 26-year-old – but what specific qualities will he bring to the club?
We asked three of our FLW writers about this very topic…
Mowatt is a box-to-box midfield player who is differentiated from West Brom’s other midfield players because he is capable of creating chances from deep.
He will also add goals from the centre of the park, which is something that the Baggies greatly lacked last term.
He should combine well with the likes of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore in the centre of the park and I expect him to be a regular starter.
And of course, he also brings leadership skills to the table after being captain at Barnsley which will, in turn, help the players around him.
Overall I think this could be one of the signings of the summer in the Sky Bet Championship.
There are so many to list.
He’s brilliant on the ball, great at passing, reads the game well, gets about the pitch with ease and can provide quality both defensively and offensively.
He’s a real complete midfielder and that’s before you get to the obvious talent he has when it comes to set pieces.
I’m surprised we’ve not seen him move to the Premier League this summer in all truth as I think he is that good but it gives West Brom a real boost for next season and they are much stronger having him in their side.
I expect him to shine next year.
First and foremost, Valerien Ismael knows exactly what Mowatt is about having worked with him for most of last season, and it was the midfielders best campaign of his whole career so far.
Eight goals and seven Championship assists paints a clear picture of how effective and important Mowatt was to Barnsley last season and it wasn’t just his goal contributions that were crucial.
It was Mowatt’s leadership that he brought to a Tykes side that for the most part was quite inexperienced that got them into the play-offs, but if we are talking about technical qualities then the 26-year-old can definitely pull the strings as a playmaker.
Even though Ismael likes his team to press high and go quite direct, Mowatt can supply the balls into the wing-backs who will be bombing down the flanks and also through balls to the likes of Karlan Grant and Callum Robinson who will thrive off his service.
Another important factor will be Mowatt’s ability to strike the ball from range – the midfielder has a screamer or two in his locker and you can expect that to come out next season at The Hawthorns.