Signing Sam Morsy is top of Barnsley’s agenda, according to head coach Paul Heckingbottom.
The Wigan Athletic midfielder was recalled back to the Latics earlier this month.
However, the Reds have activated a pre-agreed transfer fee - believed to be £300,000 - to bring the Egyptian international to Oakwell on a permanent basis.
The 25-year-old started for the Latics in their Emirates’ FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but it is understood that only personal terms are to be agreed between the club and the player - who is keen on a permanent move to Oakwell.
“I’m really focused on trying to get that deal done as a priority,” revealed Heckingbottom. “I’ve not hidden the fact of how highly I value Sam, and that’s on and off the pitch with what he’s brought to the football club.
“We knew Wigan were going to recall him, and that’s why we slapped that pre-agreed fee into the contract for him.
“Politically it didn’t look great for them [Wigan], with Sam in our team winning games whilst they’re struggling at the bottom.
“Because of that we knew they were going to recall him.
“Now it’s just a case of getting personal terms agreed and the deal done.”
Morsy has made 14 appearances under Heckingbottom, but he will face more competition for his place after George Moncur returned for his own loan spell at Peterborough United. With captain Conor Hourihane’s future still up in the air as it stands, securing Morsy’s services will be a good bit of business for the club.
Meanwhile, former boss Lee Johnson is reportedly keen on a reunion with forward Marley Watkins.
Watkins is another one from the side that won Barnsley promotion through the play-offs last season who is out of contract at the end of the season.
But, Johnson will have competition from Championship rivals Ipswich Town if he is to snap Watkins up.