Chris Wood’s departure from Leeds United is going to leave a gaping hole at striker in the lineup, and while Kemar Roofe, Souleymare Doukara, and Caleb Ekuban are all forwards that are still in the squad, it doesn’t appear that any one of them is capable of playing as the lone striker for Leeds, at least not right now. Ekuban also pulled up after appearing to suffer an injury in the Sunderland match, so the pressure will be on the club to replace Wood sooner rather than later, with an important league clash against Nottingham Forest coming and a mid-week tie against Newport County in the League Cup.
Rumors are understandably starting to pop up all over the place as to who Leeds United will pick up to replace the big Kiwi, and the Yorkshire Post is reporting that Leeds is rumored to be interested in Swansea City’s Scotland U21 international Oliver McBurnie. The obvious appeal of a local boy, McBurnie having been born in Leeds, who has good size at 6’1” makes this rumor have some legs. But will he be in for a switch back to Yorkshire, and would Swansea be interested in selling?
McBurnie is a local boy who started out his career at Bradford City before moving on to Swansea in 2015. He spent some of the 2015-16 season out on loan while on the books at Swansea, first for Newport County, where he scored three goals in three appearances for the Welsh club, and later to Bristol Rovers, where he scored zero goals in five appearances. He also starred for Swansea’s Academy Premier League 2 team, scoring eight goals in eleven appearances.
He mainly played for the PL2 side last year at Swansea, again with a remarkable goal-scoring record of 11 goals in 14 matches. He also made five Premier League appearances for Swansea, and scored two goals for Swansea in a 3-1 win over Peterborough in the EFL Cup last season. His performances netted him the PL2 player of the season award last season as well.
So will the local boy make a triumphant return to Leeds and lead the club to glory? He ticks a lot of the boxes, but as his goal scoring record outside of the PL2 is a tad spotty. He is a good prospect, but he’s not necessarily ready to start week-in, week-out in the Championship at this stage in his career.
If Leeds do end up moving for McBurnie, it will be a move for the future, not a move for right now. And while the appeal of a local boy is good, Leeds needs to cast their nets far and wide to find a new striker to lead the line for a promotion push. After all, with all of the stupid money being thrown about by English clubs, remember that Gianni Alioski and Samu Saiz cost a mere £6.5 million combined. The domestic transfer market is all out of whack, and Leeds can hardly afford to gamble on an unproven young striker that isn’t ready to go with less than two weeks left in the transfer window.