Daryl Dike says his focus is on bringing success to Orlando City, pushing any transfer speculation to the back of his mind.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise over the past 14 months. Dike made his Orlando debut in July 2020 at the MLS is Back Tournament and since then, the striker has fired English Championship side Barnsley into the 2020/21 promotion playoffs with nine goals 19 regular-season appearances, while also scoring three goals in eight caps for Gregg Berhalter's national team.
Such has been Dike's form for parent club, loan destination and the USMNT, nothing seemed more certain than a summer move for the striker. Indeed, a number of clubs across England's top two tiers were interested.
Unfortunately, a series of injuries put that prospect to bed for the time being, but Dike returned to action with a goal and assist as Orlando beat Columbus Crew 3-2 last week. Now fully on the recovery trail, Dike insists he's fully focused on helping Orlando win MLS Cup, with the transfer can being kicked a little further down the road for now.
“With the transfers, whatever will be best for me will come,” Dike told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m perfectly happy. I’m happy being here, I love the fans, I love the team, I love everything. Now it’s pushing on. How can I help us win MLS Cup? How can I help us win everything?”
A whole host of Premier League clubs were linked with Dike, alongside some of the Championship's richer outfits. Indeed, a $20m release clause was often speculated to be in his loan contract with Barnsley.
But Dike has advised caution when reading the speculation surrounding his name, stressing that while some stories were true, others were mere speculation.
“It’s funny. Of course, some things were true, but, yeah, there were some things people were saying were very, very false,” he said. “It goes both ways.”
Despite being limited to just 373 minutes due to injuries and international call-ups, Dike has still managed three MLS goals this season.
His Orlando City side are second in the Eastern Conference, though a 14-point gap separates them from leaders New England Revolution, who have played two games extra.