Aside from Paul Pogba joining Manchester United from Juventus for an all-time record high transfer fee of €105m, there were many more sensational player transfers in European football this summer.
Burke’s impressive development with Forest
One of those involved Oliver Burke moving from Nottingham Forest to RB Leipzig for £13m. In doing so, the 19-year-old Scotsman became his country’s most expensive ever player, a title previously held by the £12m trio of Steven Fletcher, Ross McCormack and Matt Ritchie.
In addition to RB Leipzig a host of other top European clubs, including Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United and Tottenham were monitoring Burke’s wonderful development at Nottingham Forest, who’s Youth Academy he joined as an 8-year-old in 2005.
Subsequently over the course of the next nine years, Burke’s progression into a technically right winger steadily evolved and began to accelerate as he made his professional debut for Nottingham Forest as a substitute during a 3-1 League Cup 3rd round defeat away to Tottenham in September 2014.
Later that season Burke spent one month on loan at Bradford City, which represented another valuable aspect of his football education.
That continued during Forest’s 2015-2016 campaign, when Burke scored two goals in 21 appearances and produced a series of fine performances, for which he was rewarded in February by being given a new four-and-a-half year contract.
Bright start for Burke at Leipzig
Nevertheless after just seven months of that contract, after starting the current season in scintillating form, whereby in five Championship appearances he scored four goals, Burke was sold to RB Leipzig for £4.5m more than the £8.5m that Liverpool paid for Stan Collymore in 1995, with that being the highest transfer fee previously received by Forest.
Given his participation in the recent first round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers, as he made his competitive debut for Scotland as Gordon Strachan’s side beat Malta 5-1, Burke has not had a lot of time to acclimatise to life in Leipzig.
Nevertheless he appears to be adjusting to that extremely well, as indicated by the manner in which Burke shone during his debut, as after appearing as a second half substitute he played an influential role in Leipzig’s 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.
By finding Naby Keita with a precise cross, which the Guinean internationalist emphatically finished to score Leipzig’s winning goal, Burke immediately endeared himself to the supporters of his new club.
As well as providing a goal – scoring assist, Burke also created another wonderful opportunity for Timo Werner, as the three times capped Scottish internationalist provided several illustrations of his creative craft and flair to help Leipzig climb to fifth in the Bundesliga table after two games.
Whilst Burke prospered on his maiden Leipzig appearance, Mario Gotze endured a frustrating second Dortmund debut, after he resigned for the club for €26m from Bayern Munich.
Despite dominating possession, Thomas Tuchel’s side, which in addition to Gotze featured fellow summer signings Marc Bartra, Ousmane Dembele, Raphael Guerreiro, Sebastien Rode, Andre Schurrle, were unable to score against a disciplined and well organised Leipzig team.
Hamburg await Leipzig
They have now collected four points from their first two Bundesliga games and will aspire to continue their unbeaten start to the season next weekend when Ralph Hasenhuttl newly promoted side travel away from home to play Hamburger SV, with Die Rothosen not having enjoyed such a good start to the season.
Specifically after drawing their opening game at home to FC Inglostadt, Hamburg were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Bayer Leverkusen, whose victory was inspired by the Finnish striker Joel Pohjanpalo.
Pohjanpalo inspires Leverkusen
In the last 11 minutes of the game the 21-year old – who joined Bayer Leverkusen in August 2013 only to immediately join VFR Aalen temporarily before spending the last two seasons on loan with Fortuna Dusselfdorf – scored the second hat-trick of the Bundesliga season, following Robert Lewandowski’s treble for Bayern Munich during their 6-0 opening day win over Werder Bremen.
Bayern and Hertha Berlin early Bundesliga leaders
The Polish striker scored once again as Bayern beat Schalke 2-0 at Veltins Arena, to stay top of the table with a 100% record alongside Hertha Berlin. The capital club beat FC Inglostadt 2-0 courtesy of goals scored by Vedad Ibisevic and Julien Schieber.
Whilst Bayern and Hertha Berlin are the only two Bundesliga clubs to have won their first two games of the season, three other teams remain unbeaten having won one and drawn their other, game. They are VFL Wolfsburg, 1 FC Koln and RB Leipzig, whose victory over Dortmund is potentially the most surprising result of the 2016-2017 Bundesliga campaign so far.
Prospect of an exciting season ahead for Burke
Equally as outstanding as that victory, was the debut performance of Leipzig’s Oliver Burke, who is set to play a prominent role for the Saxony based club during their first season in the Bundesliga, which has commenced tremendously well.
Ultimately in order to become a first team regular with Leipzig, it will be necessary for Burke to keep producing the fine form which characterised his effective cameo appearance against Dortmund.
Nevertheless Burke is undoubtedly capable of doing that, particularly since he is growing increasingly accustomed at combining his searing pace and great technical skills, which will make him a great asset for Leipzig during this and potentially future seasons.