Sheffield United: ‘Signing Oli McBurnie shows we mean business’
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes Oli McBurnie's arrival at Bramall Lane proves his club are serious about establishing themselves in the Premier League.
McBurnie became the most expensive player in United's 130 year history when he completed a move, which could be worth up to £20m, from Swansea City earlier today.
Speaking after the centre-forward was officially unveiled, Wilder insisted United's willingness to break their transfer record for a fourth time since winning promotion from the Championship makes a mockery of suggestions they lack ambition.
"Over the years, we've had the stigma of a selling club and, of course, there will be sales in the future," he said. "But it should be noted that we are a buying club, we've spent a significant amount and the owners deserve a huge amount of credit for the way they have sanctioned our assault on the transfer market."
Despite their fall-out, co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have placed over £40m worth of funding at Wilder's disposal to help him prepare for top-flight football.
McBurnie, aged 23, became United's eighth new arrival of the close season when he agreed a four year contract, following the likes of Lys Mousset, Luke Freeman, Phil Jagielka and Callum Robinson to South Yorkshire. His fee is more than double the amount United committed to paying AFC Bournemouth after acquiring Mousset's services.
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"We've had to be patient and work very hard to get Oli to Bramall Lane but I am confident he will be a tremendous success," Wilder, who first expressed an interest in McBurnie more than 12 months ago, continued. "We need options at the top of the pitch and Oli, as anyone who has watched a significant amount of Championship football will tell you, offers plenty in that area. He fits the profile of our transfer policy this season and is an age where his better years are ahead of him - hopefully he and the club can continue to grow together."
McBurnie, who could make his United debut during tomorrow's friendly against Stade de Reims in France, scored 24 times in all competitions last term. Despite being born in Leeds, he has been capped seven times by Scotland.
"I'm delighted with the transfer business over the summer," Wilder, who is now targeting a box to box midfielder ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, added. "Oli is a big piece of the jigsaw, and the squad is shaping up ready for what will be a long and demanding season."