Few people would have heard of Oliver Burke before he joined RB Leipzig on Monday to become Scotland’s most expensive player.
The Bundesliga outfit paid Nottingham Forest £13million for the 19-year-old, despite Burke having only made 13 starts for the Championship outfit.
Dubbed Scotland’s answer to Gareth Bale, Burke is sure to light up the Bundesliga. Here are the key facts about the youngster…
Who is he?
Born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, Burke joined Nottingham Forest’s youth system at the age of eight. He signed a professional contract with Forest in 2014, and made his first team debut not long after when came on as a replacement in a Capital One Cup clash with Tottenham on 24 September 2014.
A brief loan spell at Bradford City followed, before he began to establish himself in the Forest senior team in the latter stages of last season. It was on the back of this form that he earned a call-up to the Scotland squad in March, making his debut against Denmark.
This season he scored four goals in five league matches for Forest before making the move to Germany.
What is his style of play?
At 6ft 2in, Burke is a tall winger with pace to burn and an eye for a goal. The teenager has immense skill with the ball at his feet and is able to dazzle his way past defenders when running directly or produce a pinpoint delivery from out wide.
While Burke has already hinted at his talent, much of the fee Leipzig have forked out is for the huge potential he possesses.
“He is exactly the sort of player we were looking for. We are really happy that we have managed to lure such a talented player away from England,” said Leipzig director of sport Ralf Rangnick. “He is tall, unbelievably fast. He’s got lots of promise for the future and is a real uncut diamond.”
Warning: The below video contains some foul language
What’s the Bale comparison all about?
Burke possesses many of the same attributes as Wales’ star man, and can go just as far according to Burke’s former Forest team-mate, Thomas Lam.
“He is a great talent and potentially a great player. We know what his strengths are and we see it every week on the pitch,” Lam said of Burke. “He is a similar player to Gareth Bale. I do not want to say he is definitely going to be as good as him. But you can see the similarities there.
“He has the potential to be as good as him. He has the same strengths and he is still very young.”
The Finland defender added: “He does scare the life out of opponents.”
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 29, 2016
How did he end up at Leipzig?
Burke has been linked with many of England and Germany’s big guns, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and FC Bayern München all credited with having interest in the winger.
Despite this, Burke had said he was happy to stay at the City Ground for another season, and Forest head coach Philippe Montanier believed it would be best for him to continue his development in the Championship.
However, Forest owner Fawaz Al Hasawi felt the transfer funds recouped for the sale of Burke were required in order to make a push for promotion and so the club’s prize asset was sold, a decision that has not gone down well with Forest fans.
So why Leipzig? It seems the newly-promoted club showed the most serious interest in making Burke a key part of their set-up, with the player stating that “they wanted me and expressed a real hunger for me to join them.”
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 28, 2016
Is Leipzig a good fit?
The Red Bull-backed side are a club on the rise and arrive in the Bundesliga with a squad bursting with young, German talent that has been complimented with a few off-season additions. There is no limit to Leipzig’s ambition, with the club determined to establish itself as one of the leading clubs in the Bundesliga and then in Europe.
In this sense the club’s ambition matches that of Burke; both parties see the sky as the limit. Leipzig could prove the perfect setting for Burke to develop and flourish.