Transfer Tracker

Duncan McGuire returns to Orlando City after Blackburn Rovers move denied

Duncan McGuire - Orlando City transfer


UPDATE (Feb. 8): Duncan McGuire's planned six-month loan to English second-tier side Blackburn Rovers wasn't approved due to an administrative issue, the clubs announced Thursday. As a result, the striker will return to Orlando City SC as next steps are determined.

"We understand and sympathize with Duncan’s situation over the last week," read an Orlando statement. "He is still an important part of our club and we are committed to providing him with a platform for his growth. We look forward to welcoming him back into our environment soon."

Blackburn, who issued a detailed explanation of the ordeal, said they will look to reach a pre-contract agreement with Orlando City for McGuire's services – eyeing a summertime move.

"Rovers wish to sincerely thank Duncan McGuire and the player’s representative, as well as Orlando City and the supporters of both clubs, for their patience and understanding in this matter, which will hopefully reach a positive conclusion in due course," read a Blackburn statement.

ORIGINAL (Feb. 1): Orlando City SC have loaned US international striker Duncan McGuire to English Championship (second division) side Blackburn Rovers, the club announced Thursday.

McGuire, a first-round pick (No. 6 overall) in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, is on loan for six months with a purchase option.

"It has always been very important for our club to find and provide the best opportunities for players to continue making strides in their career, and this situation with Duncan was no different," Luiz Muzzi, Orlando's EVP of soccer operations and general manager, said in a release.

"Duncan is a player that, from the time we drafted him to now, grew quickly over the course of the year. We’re happy to have found an opportunity for him to play in England, an ask he made of the club to accomplish a personal goal of his. We’re looking forward to him making the most of his time with Blackburn and will be cheering him on from afar."

Rising star

The 22-year-old is coming off a breakout rookie season, tallying 15g/3a in 37 matches across all competitions after turning pro out of Creighton University. That form helped McGuire make his USMNT debut last month in a friendly vs. Slovenia, plus gain steam to potentially feature at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Last summer, given McGuire's meteoric rise, Orlando felt comfortable transferring then-DP striker Ercan Kara to the Turkish Süper Lig. That trust paid off, as McGuire helped them finish second in the Supporters' Shield race and qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup – all through a record-setting campaign.

Now, Orlando are positioned to acquire a new lead-the-line striker entering the 2024 MLS season. They have a DP spot open alongside star wingers Facundo Torres and Martín Ojeda.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to test myself abroad. I know I would not have this opportunity without the support of my teammates, my coaches and the front office at Orlando City," McGuire said.

"Just 12 months ago I was leaving college soccer hoping to make my way, and I believe I have made the most of the opportunities that were presented to me in this time."

McGuire is Orlando's latest college soccer-to-MLS success story after strikers Cyle Larin and Daryl Dike both moved abroad. Larin, who is Canada's all-time leading scorer, went to Turkish powerhouse Beşiktaş in January 2018 for an undisclosed fee. Dike, a US international befallen by injuries, was transferred to English side West Bromwich Albion in January 2022 for a reported $9.5 million base fee.

McGuire also joins a collection of USMNT strikers in the Championship, alongside Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Haji Wright (Coventry City) and Dike (West Brom). Blackburn are in 18th place, eight points clear of the relegation line.

Heading into 2024, Orlando open their MLS campaign on Feb. 24 vs. CF Montréal (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).