COMMENT By Richard Parks
If evidence were needed that Paul Heckingbottom will call the transfer tune at Leeds United ahead of and during the transfer window, it comes with the club’s pursuit of Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie.
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.
McBurnie has been banging in the goals at Heckingbottom’s former club Barnsley 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.
It is also clear that Victor Orta’s power base is being weakened at Elland Road following a series of flop buys.
Heckingbottom knows McBurnie’s game inside out, worked on deals to sign him in two consecutive windows and has sanctioned a pursuit in a third that could genuinely materialise, irrespective of Leeds securing promotion.
The versatile forward is out of contract at Swansea this summer and United are ready to offer him a move away from Wales if he does not agree a new deal at the Liberty Stadium.
The pursuit might not reach fruition – there is interest from boyhood club Rangers as well as Premier League and Championship clubs – but it is unlikely United would even be in the race so early were it not for the man helping to pull their transfer strings.
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.