UPDATE: April 30, 9:30 am ET – Orlando City SC announced Thursday evening that they’ve reached an agreement for forward Daryl Dike to remain on loan at EFL Championship side Barnsley FC through the end of the EFL Championship Playoffs.
Barnsley, chasing promotion to the Premier League, currently occupy sixth place in England’s second division. Teams seeded No. 3 through No. 6 will play two-legged semifinals, with those winners then advancing to a May 29 final that’ll determine the third team that books a top-flight ticket. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds gain automatic promotion.
Dike has emerged as one of Barnsley’s key players, tallying nine goals in 18 matches across all competitions. The 20-year-old has scored in a variety of ways, too, proving dangerous in the penalty area for manager Valerien Ismael’s team.
As reported by Julia Poe in The Orlando Sentinel, the Lions have the right to recall Dike on May 3. The loan agreement also comes to an end May 31, creating a sticking point that club executives must come to terms over.
Finances would need to be sorted for an extension, Poe noted, as Barnsley look to secure Dike for their promotion push in the EFL Championship playoffs. They’re currently in sixth place and are chasing a Premier League leap, with final league games on May 1 (vs. Preston North End) and May 8 (vs. Norwich) before playoffs begin.
When the free loan was first reached, it didn't seem like Barnsley would be in this position from their 2020-21 season.
“We’re trying to reach an agreement,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao 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.”
Since joining Barnsley, the US men’s national team forward has scored nine goals in 17 league matches. That scorching form has resulted in Barnsley surging up the table, making him a dream signing.
Dike’s goalscoring exploits have generated widespread transfer interest as well, creating the possibility that he moves overseas on a permanent basis in the coming months. Orlando are planning for his eventual return, but also recognize they’re dealing with an appreciating asset that carries aspirations of competing at the highest levels.
“We understand that players, especially in that age, have this desire to go to Europe and play for top-tier leagues,” Leitao said. “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.”
For more on Dike’s loan situation, check out the entire Orlando Sentinel story here.