Swansea City have agreed to sell top scorer Oli McBurnie to Sheffield United for a fee that could be worth £20m.
After initially rebuffing the newly promoted Premier League club’s offers for the Scotland striker, the Swans have chosen to sell just two days before the start of the new Championship season.
The blow has been partially offset by a £1m deal in place to bring in Kristoffer Peterson from Dutch club Heracles, but it still represents a huge setback to the club’s ambitions of improving on last season’s 10th place finish.
The Swans have now sold their two most effective players from last season – McBurnie and Daniel James, who left for Manchester United for what now looks a bargain price £15m – leaving new manager Steve Cooper to try and rebuild from a squad that offers little more than youthful promise.
The club’s American owners will be happy to see a total of around £40m come in from the sales of McBurnie, James and Jordan Ayew in recent weeks, but it still represents small change compared to the loss of income suffered by relegation from the Premier League.
McBurnie had a year left on his current contract and appeared in no hurry to leave at the end of last season, during which he scored 24 goals in all competitions.
But after the Blades had an offer of £15m rejected, the Swans are understood to have decided to cash in with an £18m agreement that could be worth a potential £2m more with add-ons.
McBurnie, 23, will become Sheffield United’s eighth signing of the summer transfer window and is expected to undergo his medical in Sheffield tomorrow.
Dean Henderson recently arrived at Bramall Lane on a second successive season-long loan from Manchester United, while Ben Osborn has also joined the Blades for an undisclosed fee from Nottingham Forest.
Bradford City, who sold McBurnie to Swansea in 2015, will get 15% of the initial fee.
Swedish international Peterson, who can play as a winger or central striker, worked with Cooper in the academy at Liverpool, but any remaining business for Swansea is now likely to be made up of loans and free transfers.