Gareth Ainsworth has beaten the transfer deadline by 31 seconds to secure the return of Wanderers’ Player of the Year from the 2015/16 season – defender Jason McCarthy – on a three-year contract.
The 22-year-old starred in the light and dark blue quarters during a loan deal from Southampton, moving to Walsall the following season and playing every minute of their League 1 campaign, again winning the Supporters’ Player of the Year award.
McCarthy made a permanent switch to Barnsley in July 2017, featuring 24 times for the Championship club last season, but has now been allowed to leave Oakwell, paving the way for his return to Adams Park for an undisclosed fee.
Ainsworth said: “This is a massive coup for us and I’m thrilled to be able to bring Jason back here on a permanent deal. He was outstanding for us during his loan spell, making his EFL debut and scoring a couple of important goals as well.
“We had an excellent defensive record that season and Jason was a big part of that. He fitted in straightaway to the way we do things, he was a popular lad in the changing room and I know the fans loved him too, so I’m sure this will be a popular signing and we’re delighted to get it over the line.
“The fact that Jason wanted to come back here is testament to my staff and the work they put in to help him develop his game when he was just a teenager starting out in senior football. We have a proud track record of working with young players and Jason was one of our biggest success stories, which is why having him back on a permanent deal is a huge boost for everyone at the club.
"A lot of hard work has gone into this transfer and I'd like to thank Andrew Howard and especially our club secretary Kelly Francis, who got the deal over the line in the nick of time and kept her cool as the clock ticked down to ensure we could make it happen."