As the MLS season came to an end for United States men’s national team forward Daryl Dike, it seemed a question of when — not if — the 21-year-old would seal his move away from Orlando City. During last season’s loan to Barnsley in the Championship, Dike scored nine goals in 19 appearances, leading them streaking into the Championship playoffs. But since Barnsley didn’t get promoted into the Premier League they couldn’t afford the reported $20 million release clause and Dike returned to Orlando City for the MLS season.
Due to getting injured last summer while at the Gold Cup for the USMNT, Dike only made 19 appearances for Orlando City during this season but was effective when he was on the field, scoring 11 goals and assisting one more.
That was enough to earn Dike a move back to the Championship with a sale to West Bromwich Albion announced on New Year’s Day.
Speaking about the move, EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said. “From the moment we drafted him, we knew Daryl was a special talent, and this opportunity is a credit to both his natural talent and his dedication over the last two years. We are happy that he was able to develop here in Orlando and grow into the player he is today. While we know he will go on to do tremendous things in his career, it’s an honor to say that Daryl got his start here in Orlando, that we played a strong role in helping him get to this new challenge. We wish Daryl nothing but the best in this next chapter.”
Dike will sign a four-and-a-half year contract with the Baggies for a record fee in excess of £7 million, which is roughly $9.47 million, Steve Madeley of The Athletic reports. Orlando City’s previous record was $3.85 million for Yoshimar Yotun heading to Cruz Azul in Liga MX.
The move is a win for both sides. Dike will head to a league and coach that he is familiar with. West Brom are currently fourth in the Championship only four points off of an automatic promotion spot, adding Dike could be the shot in the arm to push them to the Premier League. Clearly it’s what manager Valerian Ismail has in mind, since he was the boss at Barnsley when Dike spearheaded their run as well.
Currently, West Brom’s front three includes Adam Reach, Callum Robinson, and Grady Diangana. Dike will be expected to play centrally or off the right to assist with setting up Robinson in attack similarly to how Ismael used him last season.
While Dike was briefly linked with clubs as high as the top six Premier League sides over the summer, he could still end up in the Premier League if West Brom can secure promotion. And with the race for the United States men’s national team open, Dike could find himself starting at the World Cup too. Striker remains one of the positions with no solidified starter ahead of the Winter World Cup in Qatar in November.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the United States as Dike could start a domino effect of top talent that is on the move.