Luke McNally seals Championship move

Luke McNally will play in the Sky Bet Championship next season after joining Burnley Picture: David Fleming
Luke McNally will play in the Sky Bet Championship next season after joining Burnley Picture: David Fleming

LUKE McNally has completed his move from Oxford United to Burnley.

The centre back joins the Sky Bet Championship club for an undisclosed fee, believed to be comfortably more than £1million, signing a four-year deal.

Several teams were interested in McNally after an impressive breakthrough season in English football from the 22-year-old, who made 35 appearances and scored four goals.

READ MORE: Oxford United pursuing multiple loan targets, says Karl Robinson

Burnley won the race, though, and the defender left United’s pre-season training camp in Spain over the weekend before completing a medical yesterday.

“Towards the back end of last season we got a phone call and there were three teams who were definitely in the hunt for Luke,” said U’s head coach Karl Robinson.

“Burnley from the outset have been very aggressive in that.

“We’ve got what we needed out of the deal, which was important for us.

“We don’t like selling players, but when it’s right and the player wants that to happen it’s life-changing.

“I think some people get frustrated about selling people, but you can’t stand in the way of people changing their lives.

“It was something he wanted to do and when that becomes the case you want the player to be extremely positive for the next stage of his life.”

Burnley were relegated from the Premier League last season and recently appointed former Manchester City and Belgium centre back Vincent Kompany as manager.

McNally is the third player to leave United for another club this summer, following Ryan Williams and Mark Sykes out the door.

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Defender Ciaron Brown became their first signing of the transfer window on Sunday.

McNally had two years left on the contract he signed when he arrived at United from Irish Premiership side St Patrick’s Athletic in January 2021.

He made his debut last August and played semi-regularly until Jordan Thorniley was recalled by Blackpool in January.

From that point on, McNally missed just one game and scored a last-minute equaliser against Ipswich Town, as well as adding goals home and away against Portsmouth.

It is the fourth successive summer a centre back has left the U’s for the Championship, with three going for seven-figure fees.

Curtis Nelson joined Cardiff City on a free transfer in 2019, while Rob Dickie and Rob Atkinson went to Queens Park Rangers and Bristol City respectively in the following two years.