Sheffield United have broken their transfer record for a fourth time this summer by signing Oli McBurnie for £20m.
In fact they haven’t just broken it, but as the club’s official Twitter account put it, they have “significantly smashed” it.
BBC Sport reports the deal for McBurnie is worth up to £20m. The Blades have paid an initial £17.5m, with the rest dependent on add-ons.
This still far exceeds the £10m (BBC) given to Bournemouth for Lys Mousset. Or the £8m for Callum Robinson and £5m for Luke Freeman before that – as outlined by the Yorkshire Post.
It is a significant outlay for a striker who has played just 16 Premier League games and never scored a goal. Yet that is only how the casual observer of McBurnie’s career so far may view it.
Why McBurnie could well be worth £20m and more
As fan-run account Blades Mad points out on Twitter, since the 23-year-old made his debut in the Championship on 3 February 2018, no player has scored more than him in the division.
In 59 matches since that first appearances, McBurnie has netted 31 times. That is a stat only matched by Brentford’s Neal Maupay during the same time period.
📈 Most C’ship goals fr. 03/02/2018*:
31⚽️: 💥 @oli_mcburnie**💥, Maupay
25⚽️: Adams, Bowen
* McBurnie’s Championship debut
** 9 for Barnsley, 22 for Swansea#sufc #twitterblades pic.twitter.com/84a8jt8ibA
— Blades Mad (@Blades_Mad) August 2, 2019
It must be said that this doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Neither Teemu Pukki or Tammy Abraham were playing in the Championship in 2018/19.
Therefore their records of 29 goals in 43 games (Pukki) and 26 in 40 (Abraham) are superior.
However, the others were and McBurnie is also six years younger than Pukki. Meanwhile, Abraham is expected to be given an opportunity in the Chelsea first team this term.
McBurnie may not be proven in the top flight, but the Scotland international needs the opportunity to do so. So far he has exceeded expectations and then some.
The Blades could have a real hit on their hands.