Darren Moore insists Oliver Burke will return to West Brom after Celtic loan
Darren Moore insists Oliver Burke will return to Albion at the end of his loan spell at Celtic.
Burke has got off to a flying start north of the border, scoring twice on his Scottish Premiership debut in a 4-0 win over St Mirren that sent Celtic top of the table.
It has prompted the £15million signing, who has struggled for minutes ever since he arrived in the Black Country 18 months ago, to hint at a long-term stay in Glasgow.
But Moore disagrees, and wants the 21-year-old to return to The Hawthorns in summer, ready to fight on the front line for his side.
“All this will be for the benefit of West Bromwich Albion,” said Moore. “I’m sure we’ll see the player we’ve invested in when he gets back.
“He’s a tremendous player, he just needs the volume of games. If he gets that we’ll see a great player for West Brom.
“I’m developing Oli because of the output we’ve laid on him. We’ll get him back in the summer and have a player who’s nearer the front line than just playing bit-parts.”
Burke, however, has already scored more goals for Celtic than either Albion or RB Leipzig, his previous club who spent £12m themselves signing him from Nottingham Forest.
And the 21-year-old from Kirkcaldy told the Scottish press: “I feel at home already and I’m sure if I continue to keep doing well I’m sure I’ll want to stay here as a player.”
But Moore has waved away suggestions Burke is purely being put in the shop window ahead of a summer sale.
“No, no, we want to get him back,” said Albion’s head coach. “If Oli is back in the shop window, it’s because he’s doing well for Celtic.
"But the magnificent thing is he’s our player. He’s being developed to be brought back here for West Brom.”
Albion sent loan manager Deon Burton up to Glasgow to watch Burke score his brace on debut, and will continue to follow his progress forensically.
“We’re really pleased,” added Moore. “He’s been sent up there to play games, and him scoring the goals is superb from our perspective.
“A large part of Oli’s career has been missed by playing games. The players in front of him here were scoring goals, so he found it hard to get regular games.
“We hope to see him back here in the summer after a succession of games and goals, he’s in a challenging environment, working with an excellent manager and team.”
Albion sent Burke to Celtic at the start of the month, and since then, Leicester City have recalled Harvey Barnes.
Bakary Sako is also leaving, returning to former club Crystal Palace, but Moore does not regret letting Burke go.
“We knew Oli had to go,” he said. “The opportunity was too good, and it was the right one for Oli.
“No disrespect to other clubs, but another opportunity at a lower standard wouldn’t have given us the right team dynamic.
“The other night would showcase that. We’re smiling because that’s what we want, long may that continue.”
Burke still has three-and-a-half years left on his five-year Albion deal, and when he was signed in the summer of 2017, then-manager Tony Pulis admitted he was ‘one for the future’.
But his time at The Hawthorns hasn’t gone to plan. He started just two Premier League games last season and was publicly criticised by Alan Pardew after giving the ball away late on against West Ham last January.
Despite scoring his first goal for Albion in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, his short stint north of the border has already been more successful.
“My career has been a bit stop-start and it’s not been great for me,” admitted Burke. “This is just football – that’s what happens. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.
“But I feel now that I’m ready to give my all and it’s really important for me now to get my head down and do the very best that I can.
“I’ve been sort of starved of football for the past couple of years now so that’s all I want to do.
“I just want to be out there enjoying myself on nights like Wednesday. It was a massive relief for me to score and an amazing feeling. I feel really happy.”