Sheffield United could have a big decision to make in the transfer market as interest in striker intensifies

Oli McBurnie could find himself at the centre of an intriguing transfer battle between Sheffield United and Rangers this summer, as the reigning Scottish Premier League champions consider making a bid for the centre-forward and another player previously linked with a move to Bramall Lane.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 5:00 pm

Although United have yet to receive any official offers for McBurnie, who is still recovering from the broken foot he suffered towards the end of last season, they have been warned to expect an approach from Ibrox where Steven Gerrard is plotting another overhaul of his squad.

If that materialises, and with Rangers understood to value McBurnie at £5m less than the £20m United paid to sign him from Swansea City in 2019, it will leave United with a huge decision to make.

Despite their surfeit of strikers, the Scotland international is a proven scorer at Championship level and a change of tactics under new manager Slavia Jokanovic could see him rediscover his touch in front of goal. McBurnie netted only once as United surrendered their Premier League status during what proved to be a desperately disappointing campaign for a team which had finished ninth the season before. But Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder accepted that asking McBurnie to operate as a targetman rather than in his preferred deeper lying role would inevitably reduce his returns.

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Oli McBurnie is a wanted man

Rangers, the club McBurnie has supported since childhood, are also thought to be monitoring Peterborough’s Jonson Clarke-Harris, who has also attracted interest from United in the past.

Barry Fry, director of football at London Road, publicly confirmed United had been scouting the 26-year-old before Wilder’s departure in March. Although Fry’s actions were designed to drive up Clarke-Harris’ value, his comments were not denied by United - where Jan van Winckel, owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s footballing advisor, is known to enjoy a major input into recruitment policy. The Belgian was effectively responsible for bringing Sander Berge to South Yorkshire 17 months ago, although Wilder endorsed the midfielder’s arrival after assessing his performances in the Champions League for Genk.

Berge is expected to depart, with Arsenal among those courting his signature.