Orlando City negotiating with Barnsley over Daryl Dike playoff loan

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Orlando City is currently negotiating with Barnsley to determine the future of star striker Daryl Dike as his loan period comes to an end.

Dike went to Barnsley on a free loan on Feb. 1. The 20-year-old has since scored nine goals in 18 games for the Reds. Under the original conditions of the agreement, Dike’s loan terminates on May 31, but the Lions will gain the right to recall the striker after May 3.

Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said the Lions will exercise that recall mechanism if the two clubs can’t come to terms on a new compensation agreement this week.

“We’re trying to reach an agreement,” Leitão said. “If they reach an agreement that we can get something that helps it make sense for us to keep Daryl there for another month, that’ll be fine. If they do not reach an agreement, because Barnsley don’t believe that he’s worth it, then no problem. We’re gonna call the player back and he’s gonna help us here in Orlando.”

Leitão said the loan was originally structured without the expectation that Barnsley would make the playoffs. Since Dike’s loan began, the team climbed from No. 12 in the Championship to No. 6 overall with a spot in the playoffs for promotion to the Premier League.

If the Lions recall Dike next week, it would pull the striker away from Barnsley ahead of the playoffs, removing the team’s top goal scorer throughout that playoffs surge.

The loan period has been valuable for Dike as the young star gained valuable playing time and experience, while also appreciating value on the international transfer market. For Dike — who debuted less than a year ago at the MLS is Back tournament — game minutes are key to continuing his rapid development.

However, the Lions haven’t received any financial value since Dike was sent to Barnsley on a free loan.

Leitão said the team isn’t set on recalling Dike, but the club feels the Lions can’t allow their top striker to play for free for a different team for another month of the MLS regular season. The CEO said the Lions could decide to recall if Barnsley doesn’t reach an agreement as early as Thursday.

The CEO also pointed to the fact that the Lions have only scored one goal in their first two games of the season. This scoring struggle has only been heightened by an early injury to striker Alexandre Pato in the home opener.

Fans have raised concerns about the potential impact on Dike’s relationship with Orlando City and MLS if he’s recalled before the playoffs. But Leitão said this isn’t a worry for the Lions.

Coach Oscar Pareja speaks with Dike on a daily basis, Leitão said, which allows him to stay keyed into the club back in Orlando.

“Daryl is a professional,” Leitão said. “He likes the club that gave him his first professional opportunity and developed him and gave him this opportunity to be there. I think he accomplished much more than what we thought would be possible, but it’s absolutely in line with his talent and his work ethic and his hard work. I don’t believe there’ll be any problem with that.”

Regardless of where Dike plays for the next month, Leitão said Orlando City is still weighing options for Dike’s future as the club looks ahead to the summer transfer window.

Dike’s performance with Barnsley impressed clubs throughout Europe, and Orlando City has already turned down a $10 million offer from a Premier League team for 80% of the striker’s rights.

“We believe in his potential,” Leitão said. “We understand that players, especially in that age, have this desire to go to Europe and play for top tier leagues. I think Daryl has that opportunity, he proved himself to have the opportunity and we will help him to accomplish his potential and his desire.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Julia Poe at jpoe@orlandosentinel.com.