Oli Burke: Sheffield United issue Blackburn Rovers with demand over potential January transfer window move

Sheffield United will not block Oliver Burke’s proposed move to Blackburn Rovers, providing their Championship rivals agree to pay a “realistic” sum for the Scotland international.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 8:26 am

Negotiations between the two clubs, aimed at facilitating Burke’s switch to Ewood Park, are understood to have started before the Christmas period with talks accelerating over the past few days.

With United manager Paul Heckingbottom outlining plans to reprofile a squad overloaded with attacking options soon after taking charge in November, Burke’s position at Bramall Lane has become increasingly precarious in recent weeks.

However, Rovers are convinced the striker can help them realise their ambition of reaching the Premier League after climbing to second in the Championship table following a nine match unbeaten run. Seven of those results have been wins.

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Scotland international Oliver Burke in a rare outing for Sheffield United this season: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

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Aged 24 and capped 13 times by his country, Burke is viewed as one of the most naturally gifted players in the English Football League. However, the former West Bromwich Albion, Nottingham Forest and Celtic forward has failed to translate those gifts into a series of effective performances on the senior stage - also making little impression after completing a high-profile switch to Red Bull Leipzig. Liverpool and Bayern Munich were also said to be interested in Burke before his £13m transfer to Saxony.

Having not started a league game for United since August’s goalless draw with Swansea City - or featured at all under Heckingbottom - Burke appears surplus to requirements in South Yorkshire, where the 44-year-old’s side have slipped to 13th following a series of Covid-19 enforced postponements which means they have not contested a fixture since December 20.

Oliver Burke is a target for Blackburn Rovers after enduring limited game time for Sheffield United this season: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Recruited as part of a swap deal which saw Callum Robinson head to The Hawthorns, Burke’s contract with United is scheduled to expire in the summer of 2023 - meaning Rovers will have to pay a fee to acquire his services.

Although United’s divisional rivals will use his lack of game time in South Yorkshire to whittle that down, it is thought they are still willing to pay to secure his release rather than attempt to persuade Heckingbottom’s employers to simply release him as has been claimed in some quarters.