West Brom boss Valerien Ismael makes first summer transfer as he raids old club Barnsley for captain Alex Mowatt

VALERIEN ISMAEL has made Alex Mowatt his first signing for West Brom – even though his former Barnsley skipper admits his French gaffer scares the s*** out of him!

Albion paid Barnsley £2million in compensation to land Ismael last week as they ended their search for Sam Allardyce's replacement.

But they clawed back a substantial chunk of that cash by reuniting Ismael with his trusted captain for free.

Mowatt allowed his contract to run down to become a free agent this summer – one year after Millwall had a £1million-plus bid to sign the 26-year-old rejected by the Tykes.

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However, Mowatt jumped at the chance to work with Ismael after the West Brom boss made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

“I have really enjoyed working with him,” said Mowatt.

“Training is intense and he doesn’t take any c**p from the lads. Players respect the gaffer – he’s a big scary lad.”

Mowatt made last season's Championship Team of the Season after providing eight goals and seven assists as Barnsley made the play-offs.

Training is intense and he doesn’t take any c**p from the lads. Players respect the gaffer – he’s a big scary lad

Ismael believes the former Leeds United midfielder will become a huge hit as he looks to return Albion to the Premier League at the first attempt.

He said: "Last year Alex took his performances to the next level. He has outstanding qualities and mentality.

"He scores goals outside the box and on set-pieces he is very dangerous.

"The way Alex plays will suit the West Brom mentality. He is a leader.

“Alex will give the guys more confidence and understanding of how we want to play. It will be easier for them to follow him."

Ismael has also bagged a backroom team from Barnsley ahead of his squad's return for pre-season training on Monday.

He has returned to Barnsley for his former assistant Adam Murray, who will become his No.2 at West Brom.

Albion agreed a compensation fee to land Birmingham-born Murray from the Tykes, with sport science coach, Jonny Northeast, and video analyst, Jack Riley also making the switch from Oakwell to The Hawthorns.

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