Our Chief Executive Officer discussed a number of topics with numerous media outlets this week, giving supporters an update following the closure of the winter transfer window.
ON DARYL DIKE
It’s a loan deal until the end of the season, with a purchase option. There’s also a recall option, but that’s just Orlando - rightly - making sure that he’s getting game-time whilst with us.
It was very easy dealing with Orlando, we thank them for that and it’s a great deal for all parties.
We felt it was pretty key to us that we had an option to purchase in the deal. I won’t go into financial details, but we’ve made it clear over the years that basic loan deals don’t really work for us, except in special circumstances like for a Matty James for example. So we want that option when we loan a player of this calibre; a really highly-rated young footballer.
Let’s just say that it’s silly season when you hear some of the figures being thrown around. If he does really well for us, we’ll see where it goes. But he’s a player that has attracted interest from big clubs in Europe previously and a few Premier League clubs have reached out to us already to say they’re monitoring him.
I’ve known about Daryl for a very long time, as a player. I’ve not met him yet, but we know all about Daryl as a footballer. He went to the same university as I did, he did extremely well and was a very high draft pick in the MLS. It’s a league that - obviously - I follow really closely having worked in that league and played in it.
He was standout in his first season, Rookie of the Year. His stats and data were through the roof and as a club he felt to us like a natural fit for what we are trying to do here at Barnsley. He’s now in the full men’s national team. So he’s one that we kept tabs on a lot over the last year, but we had to wait right until the last minute due to the changes in the immigration policy.
So him making his debut last Sunday night for the US allowed us to sign him the next day ahead of the deadline.
He’s currently en-route, he’ll be tested for COVID and then he’ll be at Oakwell and straight into the setup here. There’s no quarantine issue as he’s moved from one elite bubble - the USMNT - to another, being ours. So once he’s tested negative he’ll be at the club and then it’s down to Valérien Ismaël and his coaching staff as to whether he’ll be involved, naturally. But he could be involved this weekend against Derby County.
ON OTHER TRANSFER BUSINESS
It was important to approach the window diligently with plenty of forethought. We wanted to get business done early, we didn’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute, although that can happen at times in January because it’s such a weird window. This one was the strangest of all with the changes in immigration, the impact of the pandemic; we feel we did well all that considered.
We got Liam Kitching and Carlton Morris in early which was very important to us.
They add real strength in depth and we knew with a lot of games in this second half of the season that we’d need that, and it’s what Valérien wanted.
And then it was about getting some of the guys on the fringes of the squad an opportunity to go somewhere else where they could get out and play. To gain experience, gain growth and continue their development. And we’ve been able to do that in a pretty systematic way.
In terms of other interest in our players, there were a lot of conversations, plenty of interest in a number of our players which comes hand-in-hand with consistent performance at a high level. The likes of Callum Styles, Mads Andersen, Michał Helik, Cauley Woodrow etc. But these clubs never really asked us to dance, so to speak. And as I’ve stated over the course of the season, we weren’t actively encouraging bids either.
We had a bid for Alex Mowatt that we weren’t interested in doing. It didn’t hit any markers, it wasn’t appetising to us, it wouldn’t have served us well in the slightest.
He’s an integral part of our squad, of our club. A big player, we didn’t want to lose him. We’ve been very clear about that throughout the last year. We have a terrific working relationship with Alex and his representative. So whilst we haven’t got anything across the line with him at this point, there is always room to negotiate and he will be here at least until the end of this season.
ON FINANCIAL SITUATION
It’s still difficult, on a day-to-day basis, it’s difficult times from a financial standpoint. But we’re managing. I have to give a lot of credit to our financial director, Robert Zuk, who has done an incredible job of keeping everything in line. We make the right steps to keep things stable, to keep things steady.
But until our fans are allowed back to Oakwell, we won’t be in the clear from a financial point of view. It’s just about limiting and managing things in that interim, which has gone on longer than many of us probably envisaged.
We’re hoping that by the summer there’ll be a return to some kind of normalcy and then the markets will return to usual, our other revenue streams will open back up, and then as a club we’d need to make some decisions on how best we can continue to grow and prosper moving forward.
ON MATTY JAMES’ DEPARTURE
There were a number of variables involved and I don’t want to go into too much detail on it, but Matty James whilst with us was tremendous. An unbelievable player, a great leader with real character and if you were wanting one player to come in at the time that he did, to work with our young group of players, it’s Matty.
As a club we couldn’t reach full consensus on bringing him back, and Matty himself had other options and so he had to care for himself too. He’s out of contract at Leicester City at the end of the season so he had to make sure that he was in the best position regards his own next step.
I can’t thank Matty enough for his contribution whilst here, both on and off the pitch.
ON STADIUM RUMOURS
I won't go into too many details as it’s something at ownership level. But as has been said previously, there have been conversations in the past with other clubs. But I know there have also been healthy conversations with the town council here in Barnsley and the ownership about how we can progress and move forward together.
These are confidential conversations, but the talks were positive about the future.
Oakwell is our home, that’s where we want to be, it’s always been the plan to remain here. It’s where this club should be, it’s where our fans deserve to be; we’ll be at Oakwell next season.