Leeds are now facing competition in the race to sign Barnsley striker Daryl Dike.
What’s the story?
According to an earlier report from TEAMtalk, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are among the clubs interested in signing the 20-year-old on loan from Orlando City, with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea also said to have been impressed.
Now, Barnsley’s CEO Dane Murphy has insisted the Championship side will be in the mix to sign him on a permanent basis in the summer, but acknowledged that his performances have alerted teams in the Premier League too.
He said: “We have a price set with Daryl that we have with Orlando since the beginning of the deal – we have first right on him. If we want to exercise that option at the end of the season, it’s achievable for Barnsley, we just have to see where we are at the end of the year.”
When asked whether a move would be contingent on achieving promotion to the top-flight, Murphy added: “Not necessarily, we have to see first what division we’re in and then we have to see where we are financially. I wouldn’t say we have to go to the Premier League to achieve the buy-out but I will say now Daryl’s performances have put him in a place where there are teams of that division who are interested.”
Shades of Drogba
Standing at an imposing 6 foot 2 and built like a powerhouse, there’s a lot of similarities between Dike and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, who terrorised the Premier League in his pomp – the Ivorian bagged a whopping 164 goals in 381 games for the Blues.
Dike’s combination of power and technique makes him a potentially formidable opponent himself, and someone who could terrify the top-flight given the lack of real comparable strikers in the division.
A player profile done by SBNation noted: “A physical striker, Dike is more than a bruising finisher. His ‘delicate touch’ and high level of technical ability belie his size, enabling a confidence in possession with both passing and dribbling. That said, he scores a lot of goals in a variety of ways. Headed finishes, short-range placement, and long-range bombs, the 6’2” attacker can do it all.”
And apart, from having surprisingly good technical ability for a player of his size, it’s his temperament that has really got some of his former mentors talking.
His former coach at Virginia, George Gelnovatch, raved: “But one of the things about him that nobody ever talks about is relentlessness. He is a relentless competitor, a ruthless guy on the field. You put that inside a body like his, and it’s pretty impressive.”
He would give Bielsa a completely different option at the top end of the pitch in terms of his sheer physicality, while his “relentlessness” should bode well for the kind of intense pressing the Leeds boss will want from his centre-forward.
If there is a battle to sign Dike in the summer, then the Whites should be there at the front of the queue.