Daryl Dike - Barnsley - shot

Amid Premier League transfer speculation surrounding on-loan Orlando City SC striker Daryl Dike, it’s hard not to wonder how quickly the 20-year-old could ascend the European soccer hierarchy.

He reportedly comes with a $20 million price tag, but teams in England's upper echelons and other top-flight leagues remain linked throughout his soon-to-end stay at Championship side Barnsley. In 13 league games, he has seven goals and sparked Barnsley’s torrid surge up the second-division table as they chase a Premier League promotion spot. 

Whether Dike returns to Orlando or stays overseas, it’s clear that he has ambition and dreams. He’s already taken a big leap forward after being the No. 5 pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, but more progressions are out there.

“There's so many more things I want to experience,” Dike said in a CBS Soccer piece. “There's so many ways I got to grow as a footballer, as a person.

"It's only been 18 months, my career could be another 10-15 years and for all I know it could be completely different in another 18 months. I keep going and keep my head down, stay humble and enjoy myself."

To embark on this rapid rise, Dike can partially thank a second-half cameo during the US men’s national team’s 7-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago back on Jan. 31. That marked his international debut and helped him secure the necessary paperwork to become a Barnsley player on deadline day, signing a short-term loan after recording eight goals and two assists in 17 games (15 starts) as an Orlando City rookie.

Like with any deal, Dike’s move didn’t come out of nowhere. Barnsley CEO Dane Murphy, a former D.C. United player, tried to keep things on the down-low to stave off other circling clubs this past winter.

“I'd kept it very close to the vest for a long time because I knew there was interest outside of the MLS market in Daryl and I didn't want to sort of tip my hand as to it becoming a possibility because it was a last second move," Murphy said. "I don't think anyone else knew that when he stepped on the field he met the criteria. I knew if it got out, we would be outbid or something would happen.”

All the while, Orlando both expect Dike to return once Barnsley’s 2020-21 season concludes and recognize they have an exciting asset on their hand. Should Dike rejoin the MLS side, he’d arrive with plenty of confidence and possibly partner with Alexandre Pato up top.

As for the player himself, Dike insists that amid the talk of big-money offers from the Premier League he's just trying to keep his eye on what he can control.

"For now, I don't really focus on that," Dike said. "I try to block it out and focus on what I can do today to better myself tomorrow."

For more on Dike’s time with Barnsley, check out the entire CBS Sports story here.

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