It’s been a long time coming, but Oli McBurnie’s new contract could turn out to be our most important summer signing.
Written by Josh Kilmister
It was speculated among many that he would be plying his trade elsewhere next season, but Oli McBurnie has finally signed on the dotted line, extending his contract at the Liberty Stadium another 3 years.
And while the club have a long way to go if they want to be challenging for promotion in eight months’ time, this is certainly an encouraging step in the right direction for Graham Potter’s side.
McBurnie – who struggled to make an impact in the Premier League, albeit with limited opportunity – became one of the Championship’s most sought-after strikers after an impressive spell at Barnsley saw him pick up the club’s ‘Player of the Season’ award, despite being at the club for less than 4 months.
The 22-year-old Scot netted 9 times in 17 appearances for the Bantams in the Championship last season but couldn’t save them from relegation to League 1.
His experience can be questioned, but his eye for goal certainly cannot. McBurnie finished last season as the top goalscorer for both Barnsley and Swansea’s under-23 side, despite being restricted for game time with both.
And if the stats don’t quite do it for you, keep in mind that his goals in the Championship came while playing on the wing for a Barnsley side who only outscored Burton, Bolton and Birmingham last season. Then, you might begin to understand just why McBurnie is so highly rated.
A glance at his statistics during his 2 previous seasons with the Swans’ are no different. There’s a trend occurring – and we can only hope it continues into this coming season.
A natural finisher whose success has come as no surprise to his peers, McBurnie brings as much to the club off the field as he does on it. He’s clearly a popular figure in the dressing room and has been a hit with the fans since forcing his way into the first team last season.
McBurnie told the club’s official website:
“It’s been a long time coming, but after coming back and seeing the plans for this season, and speaking to the gaffer and everyone involved, I think it’s the perfect thing for me to do at this time in my career. I’m buzzing to get it sorted.
“There’s a new manager in place and new staff and I think there will be a lot of new boys coming in….After a tough season last year, it’s about rebuilding as much as possible and getting back to the way we like to play – the Swansea Way. We will see where that takes us.”
Whether McBurnie will be leading the line at Bramall Lane on the opening day is yet to be seen, but there is no doubt that he’s earned his chance here.
Opting for McBurnie over a more experienced striker might be a risk, but it’s a calculated risk that could well pay off.