BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill is on the lookout for a new midfielder following Danny Drinkwater’s permanent switch to Leicester City.
Manchester United loanee Drinkwater has been a revelation at Oakwell this season, so much so that Hill was quick to extend the player’s loan deal until the end of the season.
But Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was also a big fan of the player and, following a successful medical yesterday, swooped to sign the 21-year-old on a three and a half year deal for a reported £1million.
“Unfortunately there’s no way we can compete with Leicester City when it comes to transfers and players wages,” Reds director Don Rowing told The Star.
“Manchester United accepted an offer for the player, so there’s nothing we could have done to keep him at the club.
“The transfer window is still open and league rules allow for a loan player to leave a club if he agrees a permanent deal. It would have been great if we could have kept him because he’s an important player.”
Drinkwater made 18 appearances for the Reds and struck up a strong partnership with skipper Jacob Butterfield in central midfield.
But despite the disappointment of losing Drinkwater to a fellow Championship club, Hill admitted: “He’s been incredible for us this season, but this is something we weren’t expecting.
“We are going to miss him because Jacob’s out for the rest of the season, so now we’re going to see if we can find a replacement. I’m in no rush because I’m pleased with the squad we’ve got at the moment, but ideally I’d like to maybe bring one or two more players in to the building.
“Danny’s been absolutely superb and instrumental in what we’re trying to achieve.
“It’s a shame we won’t complete our journey together, but that’s football and we move on.
“We know what recruitment can be. We were fortunate enough to get Danny on loan and I wish him all the best. One day he’ll be a Premier League player.
“But Danny leaving creates an opportunity. It’s there for another player to snatch.
“We are actively trying to recruit to replace Danny, but we’re not going to panic because we also have the loan window to look at in case we need reinforcements.”
Meanwhile, winger Jim O’Brien will definitely miss tomorrow’s home clash with Millwall after he continues his rehabilitation for a groin injury.