Ollie McBurnie will soon be on a plate for Rangers to swoop for an Alfredo Morelos replacement for free, with the Scotland international striker’s deal running down.
According to The Star on Thursday (17 November) Sheffield United don’t expect any immediate developments on contract talks with their forward during the World Cup.
The Blades return to action on 10 December, with the final in Qatar not for a week after that on 18 December, so with agents expected to descend on the tournament that could leave just over two weeks before the Gers will be free to speak to McBurnie about a summer free transfer.
The Star further notes: “Privately, however, sources with knowledge of the process have indicated that binding decisions on the future of McBurnie and the 15 other members of [Paul] Heckingbottom’s squad approaching the end of their existing arrangements are unlikely to be taken until after the festive period”.
So the door looks to be open for Rangers to insert themselves into the conversation in a big way before any decisions in the Championship are made.
Given that the Daily Mail reported that the 26-year-old would cost as much as £15million when he was being targeted for an Ibrox move in the 2021 summer window, that would be a major saving.
And considering that he is in far better form now than he was at the time, having scored nine in 17 this season after overcome injury and off field issues, the signing would appear to be that much more attractive.
Morelos looks to have already checked out of Ibrox, with his own deal expiring at the same time, and while McBurnie would struggle to match up to the Colombian at full strength who has scored 115 Rangers goals, the boyhood Bears fan could more than replace the disinterested El Bufalo currently in Glasgow.
Although Heckingbottom wants his player to stay and McBurnie would be happy to do so, the Gers are expected to have money available to spend in January off the back of a £55million windfall, so absent a transfer fee they should be able to make a strong contract offer.
Coupled with his Ibrox leanings, and the presence of former Blades teammate John Lundstram to put in a good word, that could be enough to sign an able Morelos replacement on a pre-contract agreement in six weeks’ time.