When he left Celtic, you wouldn’t have thought that several months down the line that you would see Oliver Burke in La Liga.
But that’s exactly what’s happened. The Scotland international has spent the last two-and-a-half months in Spain after agreeing a loan deal to leave West Brom for Alaves. Burke has gone on to make nine appearances, but has failed to find the net and has just one assist to his name (Transfermarkt).
Burke also hasn’t started many games since moving to Spain either. In total, he’s been substituted on in seven of his nine appearances.
Yet, despite the underwhelming numbers, Burke has found a place he’s happy with. Speaking to the BBC ahead of Scotland’s double-header against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, the former Celtic winger opened up on his current loan spell.
“Game time is the most important thing for me – it’s coming slowly. I’m happy with where I am now and getting the game time. It’s such a great league as well, so I’m very happy.
“It’s going very well, I’m really enjoying it. I wouldn’t say it’s far different from leagues in other countries I’ve played in. I think maybe some tactical things, and the language barrier, but I feel like I’m learning a lot and they’ve made me very welcome.”
Burke’s end product evidently still needs to improve
It’s no surprise to see him start relatively slowly in Spain despite his happiness. When he came to Celtic, he left having made 19 appearances and scoring only four goals. Despite being a wide man, he also only managed three assists (Transfermarkt).
So it seems to be the same old problem he’s having with Alaves. The same issue that has held him back so often in his career.
It’s incredible to think that we actually decided to take Burke on almost a year ago. You couldn’t imagine the Hoops even considering him these days. Celtic have strengthened the squad way beyond Burke’s capabilities.
The fact that the Scotland international has scored only 16 goals and bagged only 14 assists in his whole career tells its own story (Transfermarkt).
But there’s a lot to be said for happiness in football. He’s clearly pleased with where he’s plying his trade these days, regardless of whether he’s making much of an impact or not.
Hopefully it’s the start of a successful period in his career. The former Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig man deserves a bit of luck in the game. Alaves may just very well do the trick for him.