While there are a number of factors that contributed to Sheffield United’s fall from a top-half finish in their 2019/20 Premier League campaign to relegation the following season, one of the biggest failings for the Blades was their business in the transfer windows, with the club simply not identifying and subsequently signing the right targets.
Indeed, having spent a whopping £63.45m in their first season back in the top flight – some of which was, admittedly, spent relatively wisely, such as the £20.70m on Sander Berge and £3.51m on Ben Osborn – United followed this spree up with another season of heavy spending the following year, splashing £56.43m on the likes of Rhian Brewster, Aaron Ramsdale, Oliver Burke, Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle.
However, while there are a few contenders for the crown, the then-club record £20m fee paid to Swansea City for Oli McBurnie could easily be argued as being one of the club’s worst deals in this period, as the 25-year-old has, thus far in his time at Bramall Lane, not lived up to this price tag whatsoever.
Indeed, over his 36 Premier League appearances in his first season at the club, the £24k-per-week forward scored six goals, registered no assists and missed 10 big chances, as well as hitting the target with an average of just 0.7 shots and completing just 10.4 passes per game.
However, over McBurnie’s 23 league appearances the following season, the striker scored just one goal, once again provided no assists and missed eight big chances for his side, with these metrics seeing the 25-year-old earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.80.
Things have not improved for the centre-forward over his seven Championship appearances so far this season, with the Scot being yet to find the back of the net, as well as hitting the target with a mere 0.1 shots per game and averaging a SofaScore match rating of 6.83 in the second tier.
As such, it will perhaps come as no surprise to Sheffield United fans that, since joining the club for £20m back in 2019, McBurnie is now valued by Transfermarkt at just £9m – less than half the figure the club shelled out to land the 25-year-old just two years ago, something which can easily be viewed as something of a nightmare piece of business by the Blades.