Daryl Dike’s move to Barnsley, a short term loan deal that includes the option of a recall, was arguably the most interesting bit of business any Championship club did on winter deadline day.
After being drafted fifth in the 2020 MLS draft, the 20-year-old impressed in his debut season in the competition with Orlando City – scoring eight times and adding three assists as he helped his side reach the play-offs.
A glimpse at one of the young forward’s many highlight reels shows a player that appears to have the power of prime Hulk wedded with a deft touch, rapid pace, and some really smart movement.
All characteristics that suggest the United States international could thrive in the Championship but it may not be that easy.
With that in mind, we’ve outlined the obstacles that Dike may face after the transfer was sealed…
Adapting to life in the Championship
Dike turned heads during his ‘rookie’ season in the MLS and for good reason, despite his youth and inexperience the forward often dominated defences and produced dazzling moments.
The Championship is a unique league though and the Orlando loanee would be far from first the player to thrive in the MLS and struggle in England’s second tier.
It’s not just adapting on the pitch either, winter in Barnsley is likely to be a stark contrast to Florida’s sunny climes, while the Championship doesn’t quite have the glitz and glamour of the MLS.
Barnsley’s high-intensity style of play
This may be the biggest obstacle that Dike faces.
Under Ismael Valerien, Barnsley play high-tempo and energic football with an intense pressing system, which is something that it may take the 20-year-old some time to get used to.
It’s a system that requires every player on the pitch to buy into, so the Orlando loanee will have to convince his new boss that he’s ready and able to play his part.
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His lack of recent game time
The 2020 MLS season ended in late November for Orlando, meaning that it’s been more than two months since he last played a competitive game.
Stepping into this Barnsley side in the middle of the Championship season and having success is going to be no mean feat for a player that is lacking in match fitness, despite playing 25 minutes in the United States’ 7-0 win over Trinidad last month.
The uncertainty surrounding his future
According to Julia Poe of the Orlando Sentinel, there is an option for Dike’s move to be made permanent but the quoted fee of $20 million (£14.6m) for 80% of his rights makes that look a very unlikely move.
On top of that, Orlando have the right to recall him and they may look to do so if the current stand-off between the MLS and the MLS Players Association is sorted soon and the regular season does get underway at the start of April.
Valerien and Barnsley have a fantastic record of trusting in youth and helping them develop but with a player that could leave them at any time and is unlikely to be around beyond the end of the season, how patient are they willing to be?
The uncertainty surrounding his future means that the 20-year-old will likely not benefit from the same sort of opportunities that other young players at Oakwell get.