Oliver Burke’s form for Alaves doesn’t seem to have improved upon what he ended up offering at Parkhead.
12 months on from becoming Brendan Rodgers’ first signing of the 2019 January transfer window, Burke’s career couldn’t have gone any more unpredictably.
After failing to convince Celtic enough that he was worth keeping on, he moved on loan to Alaves in La Liga. It was a surprising move at the time, but Slaven Bilic clearly didn’t feel he was going to offer him much at West Brom.
And since his move to Spain, it’s fair to say he isn’t throwing himself on the back pages. Indeed, Burke has racked up 16 appearances for the Spanish outfit and only managed one assist and no goals (Transfermarkt). It’s hardly the numbers Alaves would’ve hoped for when he signed.
He’s struggling to force himself into a regular starting spot in Spain too. He’s only started a quarter of those 16 games, and has managed to start only once in their last five matches.
Burke initially injected freshness, but ultimately got found out
When Burke arrived at Parkhead last January, it wasn’t met with widespread jubilation. However, at the same time, he did come in and make an impact for us.
The Scotland international injected much-needed pace to our side, and with Rodgers often playing him as a lone-striker, he had a positive first couple of months with a new lease of life in him. He was part of the side who went on that important seven-game winning-run in the league after the winter break last year.
Unfortunately, it all seemed to go downhill after that. He impressed in Neil Lennon’s first game at Tynecastle. But after that he found himself starting only three further matches as Lenny put faith in Odsonne Edouard.
It’s incredible to think that Rodgers thought Burke was the better option as opposed to Odsonne at times. In any case, Burke’s form has led to him hardly getting any starts in Spain. His lack of development in recent years has seriously stalled him from making the impact his athleticism suggests he should.
All of a sudden, Burke is 23 in a few months. There’s plenty of time for him to develop into a decent player, but he can no longer be considered as some sort of long-term project.
12 months on from taking him in on loan, it’s clear we dodged a bullet here. It’s no wonder West Brom seem to be loaning him out and allowing his contract to run down.