Melton footballer Ollie Burke has become the most expensive Scottish footballer after joining German top flight side Red Bull Leipzig for a fee of about £13 million.
The move, which was confirmed last night, ends his 11-year stay with his boyhood club Nottingham Forest, after signing a five-year deal with the Bundesliga side.
It has been a whirlwind six months for Burke who made his senior Scotland debut in March and is in the squad for the World Cup qualifier in Malta next weekend.
A raft of Premier League clubs were reported to have scouted the winger, nicknamed Twisty, including Tottenham, Liverpool, and Sunderland, and Arsenal were also said to have been interested.
The 19-year-old joined Forest as an eight-year-old while still playing for Mowbray Rangers and came all the way through the ranks into the senior side.
As deep as the ties go, Burke said he understood why Forest had made the decision to sell him, albeit unexpectedly.
“The decision I have made hasn’t been an easy one,” said Burke. “I want to personally thank Gary Brazil (academy manager), Jack Lester (under 18s coach) and all the academy staff for everything they have done for me.
“When I found out Forest had agreed a deal to sell me it was a surprise, but I understand that the transfer fee received should help stabliise the club and allow Forest to sign at least two or three quality players who can help the team push for promotion.
“I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that they can continue to kick on under the guidance of manager Philippe (Montanier) and the director of football Pedro Pereira.
“I will continue to follow Forest and support them in every game, unless of course they are playing against me in the Champions League.”
Burke made his First XI debut aged 17 as a substitute in the Carling Cup tie at Tottenham just a week after signing professional terms with the Reds.
He went on to score his first senior goal for Forest at Cardiff in only his second Championship start in December 2015.
The former John Ferneley College pupil made an explosive start to this season with four league goals in August, including one in Saturday’s win over Leeds United.
He added: “Having understood the club’s decision to accept an offer, I quickly came to the conclusion it was time to move on and experience a new challenge.
“As for my new club RB Leipzig, all I can say is that they wanted me and expressed a real hunger or me to join their team.
“Ralf Rangnick (manager) was a huge part of my decision to choose them over a number of other interested clubs in both the UK and Europe.
“They have a desire to be one of the top clubs in Europe and I am excited to be part of that and start the next chapter in my career.”