Sheffield United: Blades aim to up the pressure on transfer target's club

Sheffield United will continue to test Swansea City's desire to retain Oli McBurnie's services after identifying the Scotland international as one of their leading transfer targets.

By James Shield
Wednesday, 19 June, 2019, 16:59
Oli McBurnie could be playing alongside Chris Basham next season : Simon Bellis/Sportimage

McBurnie's name was at the top of the wanted-list Wilder presented to Bramall Lane's co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last month, after guiding his team into the Premier League.

Although they have yet to hold talks with officials at the Liberty Stadium, United are known to be monitoring McBurnie's situation closely after Steve Cooper, City's new manager, refused to guarantee the 23-year-old is certain to remain in South Wales.

Despite being born in Leeds, Oli McBurnie represents Scotland: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Together with Neal Maupay of Brentford, McBurnie is among a small but select band of potential acquisitions Wilder believes both fit within United's financial parameters and have the potential to make the step-up from Championship to the highest level. After finishing as runners-up in the second tier last term, Wilder's employers will make their first top-flight appearance since 2007 when they travel to AFC Bournemouth in seven weeks time.

Despite also reportedly attracting interest from Brighton and Hove Albion, where Cooper's immediate predecessor Graham Potter recently took charge, United are confident the lure of elite level football combined with the prospect of returning north should make them an attractive proposition for Leeds-born McBurnie.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

Asked if the striker was destined to stay at City rather than following his former team mate Daniel James through the exit door, Cooper admitted he was unable to make any cast-iron promises.

"I hope so," he replied earlier this week, when asked if McBurnie would reject a move elsewhere. "It’s hard to come across that (his goals)."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (left) and his assistant Alan Knill: Lynne Cameron/Sportimage

"Like any player, if we get an offer you can’t refuse, you have to discuss that," Cooper added.

With Gary Madine, Scott Hogan and Conor Washington leaving Bramall Lane at the end of last term, Wilder has made bolstering United's attack a priority this summer. Negotiations with Manchester United, aimed at bringing former loanee Dean Henderson back to the club, are set to continue.