COMMENT By Richard Parks
With Leeds United among the English clubs joining the race to sign Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie, it is likely to spell the end of Rangers’ hopes of landing him.
As revealed by Football Insider, United have identified the prolific forward as one of their top targets and a bid to sign him is underway.
This comes after sources close to the situation told Football Insider that Rangers tried to sign McBurnie, 21, on loan during the January window and their pursuit continued until he instead opted to join Barnsley on deadline day for the remainder of the season.
McBurnie has been banging in the goals at Paul Heckingbottom’s former club in a loan spell that has breathed new life into their survival hopes.
The Scotland Under-21 international has struck five goals in six Championship games for the Tykes, including four in their last three games from a left flank role.
Heckingbottom has not been in the dugout to direct the goal machine but he brought the 21-year-old to Oakwell at the end of the January window after the player’s move to the club collapsed last summer at the eleventh hour due to red tape.
It is clear that McBurnie, who made four consecutive Premier League appearances for Swansea in January before they sanctioned his loan move, is a dazzling talent with immense potential.
Rangers spotted his ability and pushed hard to sign him, but were left deflated when, at the eleventh hour, the youngster opted for a move to Oakwell.
“I had a good conversation with the manager (Carlos Carvalhal) and we both agreed that I needed game time,” the Swansea official website quoted McBurnie as saying.
“With the options limited here, Barnsley was the perfect club for me to do just that.”
Rangers have subsequently been on a golden run, with striker duo Alfredo Morelos and Jason Cummings among those banging in the goals for the free-scoring team.
Yet the Light Blues are likely to be on the lookout for a new forward in the summer, as Cummings is owned by Nottingham Forest and Morelos is likely to be the subject of interest from English clubs after snubbing a move to China last month.
Given McBurnie’s form and the strong interest of Leeds and English clubs with greater financial power, there is a sense that Rangers’ time has now passed to land the forward, who is out of contract at Swansea this summer.
In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that the club have launched a bid to sign a Premier League centre-forward in the form of his life.