This article forms part of our Profit Players feature, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has turned out since being signed/sold and using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
When Oliver McBurnie first signed for Swansea City, fans would be forgiven for not exactly jumping for joy with excitement – especially in a transfer window which saw Andre Ayew, Eder and Leroy Fer all join the club.
In fact, when McBurnie joined Swansea for £315k in 2015 (per Transfermarkt) they were on the back of finishing eighth in the Premier League and the Scottish forward had just been on loan at Chester in the Conference – so with the player playing four divisions below the season prior, not many would’ve heard of him.
He joined at just 19 years after making just 20 appearances for Bradford City – 16 as a sub – and failed to score in all of them and had scored just five in 14 for Chester, per BBC.
With the help of foresight, you can see it’s a deal which Swansea fans will be hugely grateful for now – not only did he manage 26 goals in his 62 games at the Liberty Stadium, but they sold him for a profit of over £16m, according to Transfermarkt.
At Swansea, it didn’t always seem as if he was going to cut the mustard, especially with the club in the Premier League. He was sent out on a couple of loans, and it was one to Barnsley during the 17/18 season which changed everything. He played in 17 league games as the Tykes managed to score nine times, earning himself the Player of the Season award at the club, despite only joining in January.
This gave both him and Swansea the belief that he was ready for the first-team. With the Swans now in the Championship, the Leeds-born attacker told the Guardian that new manager Graham Potter convinced him to stay and extend his deal.
He said: “We must have spoken for an hour in his office. That was the first day of pre-season and he was taking the time out to speak to me, saying he wanted me to be here, that he wanted me to be his No 9 and that he thought he could make me a better player, and that he thought I could help us become a better team. I got out of that meeting, rang my agent and said: ‘I want to sign the deal.”
The backing from Graham Potter was all it needed for him to take off. Last season he scored 22 goals in 44 games for Swansea, and also registered four assists.
When Sheffield United and the Premier League came calling, Swansea pretty much had their hands tied behind their backs as the Blades came in with an offer worth around £17.5m – their record transfer.
Bearing in mind Swansea’s financial difficulties – as outlined in this BBC article from January – they were left with no choice but to accept the offer for McBurnie.
The profit made makes him the obvious ‘profit player’ for the Swans, but not only did they make huge amounts of money from him, but they also got a full season of a player playing the best of his football, helping them finish 10th. For a club who made an awful lot of bad decisions at boardroom level over the period during which he joined (2016/16 and into 2017, as pointed by the Guardian), they struck gold with McBurnie.
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