Scotland winger Oliver Burke last night joined Bundesliga newcomers RB Leipzig from Nottingham Forest for £13 million – the biggest fee ever paid for a Scottish player.
The 19-year-old signed a five-year deal with the Germans, his record transfer eclipsing the £12m deals for Ross McCormack, Steven Fletcher and Matt Ritchie.
The name of Burke’s new employers will come as a shock after the midfielder, born in Kirkcaldy, had been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Leipzig have enjoyed a meteoric rise up the German footballing ladder after being founded in 2009 when energy drink maker Red Bull purchased the playing rights of fifth-tier outfit SSV Markranstadt.
Burke issued a statement on Twitter last night in which he said: “When I found out that Forest had agreed a deal to sell me, I was surprised, but I understand the fee will help stabilise the club and allow Forest to sign at least two or three quality players.
“As for my new club, all I can say is that they wanted me and expressed a real hunger for me. Red Bull Leipzig have a desire to be one of the top clubs in Europe and I am excited to be part of that.”
RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick said: “Oliver Burke is an outstanding talent at only 19 years old and has an awful lot of potential. He is also an international for the Scotland senior team. Oliver’s pace fits in with our philosophy and he will make the next step on his sporting development with us.
“Several top clubs were interested in him and we are gaining even more quality in attack.”
Burke’s rapid progression has matched that of his new club. A product of the Forest academy, Burke made his debut for the club in a Capital One Cup defeat by Tottenham in September 2014 and was loaned to Bradford for a month later that season.
The winger made 21 appearances for Forest last season and made his Scotland debut as a substitute in March’s 1-0 friendly win over Denmark at Hampden before collecting a second cap in May’s defeat by Italy.
Burke is likely to make his maiden competitive appearance for Scotland in Sunday’s opening World Cup qualifier.
Both Robert Snodgrass and Leigh Griffiths will be assessed for injuries when they report for international duty ahead of the Malta clash. Snodgrass suffered a leg injury after colliding with a goalpost during Hull’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United while Griffiths went off with a hamstring complaint in Celtic’s 4-1 victory over Aberdeen.