Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Name: Oliver McBurnie
Club: Sheffield United
Role: Menace, Occupier
Share Price: £0.71
Who is Oli McBurnie?
McBurnie is not a particularly renowned striker in the Premier League, both due to his lack of experience in the top flight but also his lack of media attention. He's not a pronounced goalscorer and Sheffield United are not an established contending side in the Premier League - up until now. McBurnie is actually a huge figure in the Blades squad, having arrived for approximately £20m last summer from Swansea. The Scotsman netted 22 and assisted 4 in the Championship last season, earning him a move to Sheffield United as the newly promoted side looked for attacking reinforcement. However, the £20m price-tag is yet to be justified, as Sheffield's wage-bill and transfer fees have been record-breaking since they found themselves in the top flight. That said, McBurnie has helped the South-Yorkshire outfit to 7th place so far this season.
Style of Play
Unflattering is a word that comes to mind. A lack of extravagance is what plenty of neutrals first criticise in regard to Blades football. Sheffield United sit in seventh in the league, yet have scored fewer than Aston Villa who are 19th and face relegation. Attack is not first on the agenda at Bramall Lane. So how has McBurnie found himself with a £20m price-tag in a newly promoted side? Well, he's a throwback. The value doesn't come in the form of goals and highlight plays. He's only bagged 4 in the premier league this season, having started over half of the games. It's more than fair to say McBurnie is not a prolific striker. We've described his style of play as a menace or an occupier - working hard off the ball whilst contributing on the defensive end too. In essence, McBurnie is valuable because of the contributions he makes to the team, rather than as an individual. This can be said to every Sheffield United player, as Chris Wilder and co have built a squad better than the sum of the individual parts. Not good for Football Index on the Premier League matchdays, but if they reach European Football then it's a different story.
McBurnie is not an outstanding goalscorer as it stands. His previous season at Swansea showed a knack for scoring, but he's in a different role at Sheffield and hasn't yet found the net enough to indicate he's a PB option on Football Index. That said, if Sheffield United are able to earn themselves a spot in the Europa League next season, it could be a different ball game. Mid-week matchdays against easier opponents, with a more established system in place, could prove very handy. Furthermore, the earnings at Sheffield United could continue to increase, allowing further talents to reinforce the hard-working underdogs. The management at Sheffield has been outstanding, developing an array of unspectacular talents into one of the finest teams in English Football. The ability to give players a chance to grow, work hard and make a name for themselves will certainly prove beneficial to McBurnie as he will look to build on a relatively quiet first season in the Premier League.
Sheffield United is one of the smallest sides financially in the Premier League, having only been promoted from League One following the 16/17 season. Their top scorer that season, Billy Sharp, is still a prominent name on the team sheet, along with plenty of other small-name-small-fee players that were assembled to form the side we see today. The underdog story is apprecaited by the media, but Sheffield United aren't there yet. To establish themselves they'll need to finish in a European qualification to generate any significant attention. McBurnie is their most expensive player, alongside Sander Berge, who will both need to step up in order to make the papers turn their attention to South Yorkshire. The chances are that McBurnie will not be a media attraction until he finds the net more often. The fact he's Scottish also will play a part, as the speculation of an underdog rising to the ranks of Southgate's side are not a factor.
This realistically is the most applicable method of profit you'd expect in McBurnie. A £20m striker, just turned 24, playing European Football generally is worth more than £1. McBurnie sits at £0.71. If Sheffield make it to the Europa League, McBurnie could be facing some far easier defences than those he plays against domestically. Mid-week fixtures play a part, and the media attention from a neutral stand-point could see traders honing in on the Scotsman for as long as he's seen as a budget option. Furthermore, the fact he's been in the Premier League for just one season indicates there's more to come. If he can add a few more to his tally, it's easy to see McBurnie rising from £0.71. The beauty of such a cheap investment is that you can reap great margins from such little increases. If you want 10% ROI after commission, you only need McBurnie to hit £0.80. That's feasible should he find himself playing in Europe next season.
In summary, if you think Sheffield are finishing in a Europa League qualification then there's a good chance you'll fancy investing in McBurnie. A £20m valued 24 year old striker in European football, having played his first season in the Premier League looks as though he'll be improving in seasons to come. Agreeing with that line of thought surely justifies an investment at £0.71. But if you think Sheffield United don't have it in them to sustain their progress, and their lack of goals will remain a constant in years to come, then McBurnie is perhaps not the investment for you.