The Tykes have made no secret of their desire to get defensive reinforcements through the door at Oakwell.
Boss David Flitcroft has made the acquisition of a new centre-half a top priority and admits to having explored a number of options.
It has emerged that El-Abd is among those on his wish list and that discussions have been held with the 28-year-old regarding a possible move.
Flitcroft is reluctant to speculate on the likelihood of a deal being done, with Barnsley prepared to let the Egypt international bide his time before committing to anything.
On talks with El-Abd, the Tykes manager told the Barnsley Chronicle: "We outlined what the future could look like if he signed and he was positive.
"I want Adam to think intently about the decision because it is a big one.
"He is one of four or five defenders that we have sat down with. We are looking for a centre-back and maybe someone who can play at right-back as well.
"We're just waiting for agents to become more sensible and realistic. We'll spend money but not waste it."