New West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael wants Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt to be the first signing of his tenure at The Hawthorns, according to The Athletic.
Ismael shocked many by leading the Tykes to the play-offs last term but it was announced yesterday that he has left Oakwell after less than a year in charge, taking over the Baggies as Sam Allardyce’s permanent successor.
It appears the 45-year-old coach is keen to raid his former club this summer as The Athletic has reported that Mowatt is being targeted as his first signing as West Brom boss.
The midfielder’s current deal with the Yorkshire club is set to expire in the summer but they have offered him new terms in a bid to keep him.
It is understood that other Championship sides are keen and have approached Mowatt but Albion are thought to be the favourites – due to Ismael’s appointment and their place as one of the early frontrunners for promotion.
The 26-year-old has been a key figure for Barnsley over the past three seasons, missing just four league games in that time as he helped the side win promotion from League One and then captained them during the escape from relegation in 2019/20 and last season’s shock run to the play-offs.
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This would be a fantastic signing for the Baggies and a mammoth blow for Barnsley.
Losing your manager is one thing but seeing him return to swoop for your captain on a free transfer is a nightmare, with another key figure seemingly close to the Oakwell exit door.
It makes a lot of sense from Ismael’s perspective as he brings over not just a player he can trust but a player that has had success under him and should be pivotal to implementing his style of play at The Hawthorns.
Mowatt is a top quality Championship midfielder and a very shrewd signing, particularly given Albion look to have a shortage in the centre of the park after the departure of a number of loan signings.