We have banged the drum for Sheffield United striker, Oli McBurnie, over the years on this site. But is the time coming now where the Blades simply move the big striker on?
Unfortunately, there is a case to be made to suggest the answer to that is yes. McBurnie, a £20m signing from Swansea after United won promotion to the Premier League, showed glimpses during his debut season. In fact, he did more than show glimpses, scoring six goals and suggesting there was more to come.
Of course, since then, things haven’t gone well for McBurnie. A victim of United’s miserable campaign last term, the Scottish international netted just once in 25 games. This season, despite many backing McBurnie to come good after being proven at this level before, things have once again gone sour.
The 25-year-old has just one goal to his name. That came in the cup against Southampton. Even more worryingly for McBurnie, he’s started just three games. In recent weeks, he’s appeared just once as a sub against Cardiff, as Covid and other issues have kept him out.
As we all know, the Blades needed to make up a £40m shortfall in the summer. Of course, we never hit that figure, with the £24m (rising to £30m) sale of Aaron Ramsdale the only exit of note.
Currently, this Sheffield United squad has a few players who hold value. And Oli McBurnie is one of them. Indeed, it was earlier in 2021 that reports claimed Wolves would pay £15m for McBurnie. Further, The Athletic confirmed just last week that Wolves’ interest in the striker was indeed ‘serious’ at the time.
It remains to be seen if Wolves will follow that interest up again. Raul Jimenez is back, and with McBurnie not even playing, he’s hardly in the shop window. However, that’s not to say someone like Wolves won’t fancy him a bit.
What Next For Oli McBurnie At Sheffield United
Truth be told, it’s hard to see anyone buying him. McBurnie isn’t getting minutes, isn’t scoring goals, and looks far from the player we all thought he might be. Indeed, he’s looked a mile off being the Championship player he was at Swansea.
Further, he’s lost his place in the attack to Billy Sharp. Prior to his injury, too, Rhian Brewster was also in the goals and making a case to be United’s main man up top. McBurnie, meanwhile, has been nowhere to be seen in the main.
Ultimately, if a big bid did come in, you’d have to say it would be hard for the board to turn down. As much as we’d love McBurnie to do well, he’s just not delivered on that £20m price tag. And if the club can recoup half of that figure, then it has to be considered.
In the ideal world, McBurnie starts to play and contribute. This is a big Sheffield United squad, and Paul Heckingbottom has challenged his players to make it hard for him. But as things stand, there seems an awful lot of work in front of United’s number nine.
Certainly, January will be an interesting month for the club, McBurnie, and more in this Blades squad.