Barnsley’s promotion push meant some of their players were on the “shopping list” of Championship and Premier League clubs.
This is the view of outgoing chief executive Gauthier Ganaye, whose last job – before joining French side Nice today as club president – was to guide the Tykes through last night’s 11pm transfer deadline.
Frenchman Ganaye has helped revive the club’s fortunes, working alongside new owners and German head coach Daniel Stendel following relegation last year.
With a youthful Tykes side third in League One – six points behind leaders Luton Town, but with a game in hand – it is understandable that scouts from the higher leagues have been regular visitors to Oakwell.
“When you see the quality of football we play on the pitch all our players have to be on the shopping list of Championship clubs, and some Premier League clubs,” said Ganaye.
“And they are. We have had lots of contacts, obviously, bids for some of them – big bids – but the owners made it clear, they want to go back to the Championship.
“It’s not a question about thinking of accepting a bid and losing a player. This team can do it (promotion). The owners are really involved with the Barnsley project.
“Every day I am on the phone with them, they want to know everything that is happening here. They are really excited by what we are doing this season.
“It’s been a great season so far. They are impressed with the leadership of Daniel (Stendel), impressed with the players.
“They are excited for the end of the season and will do everything in their power to make sure this team goes back to the Championship. Then it’s a crazy league, anything is possible.”
The consortium that own Barnsley also own French club Nice, meaning Ganaye will not lose touch completely with Oakwell.
Tykes’ co-chairman Paul Conway will take over Ganaye’s duties until a new appointment is made.
“I have really enjoyed being at Barnsley,” said Ganaye, who arrived in South Yorkshire in 2017. “We have had some highs and lows.
“I have loved it and really feel part of it, it’s my club. It’s a bit weird to leave, but I will still be involved. The ownerships are similar so I am sure I will still be involved in some capacity.
“I feel part of this town, part of this club. Barnsley will always be a special club for me.
“In the past 20 months I have had lots to deal with that maybe wouldn’t happen in five years at a club. But I wouldn’t change anything because I have learned a lot on this journey.”