Alex Mowatt moves to The Hawthorns off the back of an influential season in the Sky Bet Championship under recently appointed Albion Head Coach Valérien Ismaël.
The midfielder played a pivotal part in Barnsley securing a play-off place last year, and brings a wealth of experience competing in England’s second tier.
Mowatt embraced the responsibility of being skipper in the 2020/21 term, while making a valuable impact in the attacking third during 46 league appearances for the Yorkshire outfit – netting eight goals and providing seven assists.
The 26-year-old spent five campaigns at Oakwell, winning consecutive Player of the Season awards between 2018-2020, and helped the Tykes win promotion back to the Championship via the automatic route in May 2019.
But it was Leeds who presented Mowatt with his first opportunity in the game against Doncaster in 2013, having graduated from the academy which he’d first joined at the age of nine.
The versatile midfielder featured on both wings and in the middle of the park during his time with the Whites, and scored his first goal courtesy of a long-range chip during a Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield in 2014.
Mowatt’s maiden strike from distance was a sign of things to come, as he confidently started exhibiting his shooting ability after earning a spot in the first-team. His impressive breakthrough campaign at Elland Road didn’t go unnoticed, with Alex picking up the club’s Young Player of the Year Award for the 2013/14 season.
Set-plays quickly became a key theme in the Yorkshireman’s game too, and the goals started to flow during the following campaign.
He went on to enjoy his best scoring season, finding the back of the net nine times from midfield. Another eye-catching term was rewarded with more plaudits, as Alex scooped both Leeds’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards for 2014/15.
Overall, Mowatt amassed 125 appearances and notched 13 goals before swapping west for south Yorkshire in 2017.
Although initially his time at Barnsley didn’t present too many first-team opportunities, regular minutes during a 2017/18 loan at Oxford proved to be the catalyst in Alex’s Oakwell career.
A number of standout displays earned him a spot in the PFA’s League One Team of the Year as he helped the Tykes win promotion the following season. And Mowatt played a crucial role in saving Barnsley’s Championship status on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign – defeating Brentford to also help the Baggies win promotion.
The all-action midfielder has played on the international stage at youth level, catching the eye of current England and former Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate to feature in the Young Lions’ U19 and U20 sides.
Having became the first signing of Valérien Ismaël’s as Albion boss on Friday morning, Alex Mowatt is no stranger to Ismaël’s methods having skippered under the Baggies boss during his previous tenure at Barnsley.
But how much do you know about Albion’s new midfielder? Here’s a few interesting facts about Alex.
Mowatt isn’t one to shy away when it comes to shooting from outside the box.
The versatile midfielder won the Championship’s Goal of the Month Award for October 2020 last season, and in the same month won Barnsley’s Supporters’ Goal of the Month prize thanks to powerful strikes against Millwall and Watford respectively.
Whether it be crossing or shooting opportunities, Mowatt has been a consistent taker of set-plays throughout his career.
He quickly became Leeds United’s go-to from set-pieces after delivering a number of dangerous crosses and he put his valuable left foot to good use in front of goal, scoring three free-kicks in his first full season in the game.
Deadball scenarios have tended to be ones which Alex has excelled in previously. Three of the versatile midfielder’s seven assists last term came from set-plays, and a match-winning free-kick against QPR in March 2021 further emphasized the difference his set-piece ability can make in games.
Alex was entrusted with the captain’s armband by Ismaël during his first season managing in English football last year.
The midfielder showcased his ability to lead from a young age, skippering boyhood club Leeds United’s Under-18s side with great success and leading them to the U18 League Championship at the end of the 2012/2013 season.
And it was under Baggies boss Ismaël that Mowatt was handed the responsibility of leading a senior side for the first time in his career, as he helped Barnsley to an impressive fifth-placed finish, their highest league standing in over 21 years.
Albion’s latest addition has shown up on the big occasions.
Mowatt netted two goals during Barnsley’s last five matches to secure automatic promotion from League One in 2019.
He also helped the Tykes turn the tide during their first year back in England’s second tier – helping beat Brentford on the final day of the 19/20 campaign to keep them in the division.
After stepping up from the youth ranks at Leeds, Alex made a big impression and received the club’s Young Player of the Year Award during the 2013/14 season.
A goal-laden campaign the following year saw him pick up a trio of awards, as Mowatt clinched the Supporters’, Players’ and the Club’s Player of the Year awards for the 2014/15 campaign.
More recently, the 26-year-old won a runners-up medal with Barnsley following promotion from Sky Bet League One, as well as back-to-back Player of the Season honors between 2018 and 2020.