With reports suggesting that Oliver Burke could be on his way to Middlesbrough before the window closes, Sheffield United fans won’t be losing too much sleep.
Football Insider has suggested former Blades boss, Neil Warnock, wants to take Burke to the Riverside. Warnock is trying to mount yet another charge at promotion, and clearly sees something in Burke.
Whether this is a case of Warnock trying to give someone another chance, or he genuinely does see something in him, one thing remains almost certain. And that is that signing Oliver Burke was one of the worst pieces of business Chris Wilder ever sanctioned.
Burke arrived at United in a swap deal for Callum Robinson. At the time, Wilder praised the deal.
“We’ve got great value for money. The £18m for Rammers and then the two boys from Derby that we’ve not put a figure on. Then we’ve traded with West Brom as well and got a few quid coming our way on that deal,” Wilder said at the time on the 2020 summer window, and Burke’s swap.
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But just a year on, it looks like Wilder – and whoever else was involved in the deal – have been left with egg on their faces.
Not the first
Burke falls firmly into the category of ‘he’s got something’ when fans discuss. Well, he did for a while. Now, myself, and I think some other supporters, are wondering what that ‘something’ is.
Yes, he’s quick and powerful. But that’s where it ends. Burke has scored two goals since he arrived. One in the cup, and one a deflected effort at Manchester United. He’s certainly not a centre-forward, but then doesn’t seem to have the game awareness to be played out wide either.
There was a prime example against West Brom of the frustration with Burke in general. He picked the ball up on halfway, galloped all the way down the line, and simply ran the ball into touch. Kyle Bartley simply let him do it, almost as if he knew what was coming.
Against Derby this week, a clip from the very well respected Between The Lines analysis account on Twitter, showed us another example.
But we’ve seen Wilder take a punt before. He did it with Ravel Morrison and failed. And he took Jack Rodwell on, a player we barely saw. Burke, then, makes it a hat-trick of failures for the brilliant former Blades boss.
Of course, at the time, nobody was too sad to see Callum Robinson go. It hadn’t worked for him at Bramall Lane. But 12 months on, with Slavisa Jokanovic now here, and Robinson flourishing at West Brom, it looks like Wilder’s words of the club getting the best end of this deal, were wrong.