Orlando City

Orlando City Sends Forward Duncan McGuire On Loan to Blackburn Rovers

Orlando City has sent striker Duncan McGuire on loan to English side Blackburn Rovers.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City announced this evening that the club has loaned forward Duncan McGuire to English Football League Championship side Blackburn Rovers. The loan is for six months with an option to buy. After a couple of whirlwind days, McGuire got his wish to join the English side as he looks to build on a successful rookie season in MLS.

“It has always been very important for our club to find and provide the best opportunities for players to continue making strides in their career, and this situation with Duncan was no different,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Duncan is a player that, from the time we drafted him to now, grew quickly over the course of the year. We’re happy to have found an opportunity for him to play in England, an ask he made of the club to accomplish a personal goal of his. We’re looking forward to him making the most of his time with Blackburn and will be cheering him on from afar.” 

The loan comes after a couple of days of anxiety for the striker. He left the team’s training camp in Cancun, Mexico, flying to England for his medical after Orlando City and Blackburn reportedly were close to a permanent transfer. However, while McGuire was on the plane, reports surfaced that Blackburn was attempting to sign another Orlando City target, and negotiations subsequently broke off. Officially, Blackburn stopped negotiations for financial reasons. Today, talks continued, and McGuire got his wish to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to test myself abroad. I know I would not have this opportunity without the support of my teammates, my coaches, and the front office at Orlando City,” McGuire said in the club’s press release. “Just 12 months ago I was leaving college soccer hoping to make my way, and I believe I have made the most of the opportunities that were presented to me in this time. Thank you again to my family, my teammates, and all the Orlando City fans and staff. My goal is to go to England and show everyone what I am capable of.”

Orlando City initially drafted McGuire with the sixth overall selection of the 2023 MLS SuperDraft out of Creighton University. He started the season on the bench, making his debut on March 11, 2023, against D.C. United, and eventually usurped Designated Player Ercan Kara to become the starter. The 22-year-old striker made 36 appearances (24 starts) in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and recording three assists. He completed 161 of his 232 pass attempts (69.4%), including 12 key passes.

What It Means for Orlando City

McGuire’s ascension to starting forward resulted in Kara being shipped off to Turkey on Sept. 2. As a result, McGuire and Ramiro Enrique were the only two forwards on the roster with extensive experience. The departure of McGuire leaves a new gap in the team as the Lions — already in need of adding a striker — will need another center forward.

In the meantime, Enrique will likely be the starter when the Lions face Calvary FC on Feb. 21 in the Concacaf Champions Cup and host CF Montreal in the MLS opener on Feb. 24. The Argentine made 39 appearances last season (nine starts), including starting both Concacaf Champions League games against Tigres UANL early in the season. Unless the club makes a signing at the forward position soon, he’ll probably be the starter as the season begins.

The other current options at forward are Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed. However, Lynn only made three appearances last year for the first team, and Mohammed didn’t make any. If Orlando City doesn’t bring any other forwards in during this window, the team will need those two to step up and develop significantly and in a hurry.

As for McGuire, Orlando City fans have probably seen him in purple for the last time. The player asked for his departure, so it’s hard to see him returning to the club. Whether this ends up being a good deal will depend on how he plays at Blackburn. The English club probably won’t be able to afford his reported purchase price, possibly leaving the Lions with a player who prefers to be elsewhere. The Athletic’s Tom Bogert reported that Orlando City would receive $700,000 for the six-month loan and the purchase price is a hefty $7 million with a potential additional $2.5 million in add-ons.

If things don’t go well for McGuire at Blackburn, Orlando City may have to sell him for less money than some of the initial offers the club received. However, if he plays well in the next six months, the Lions could have several suitors, making it an easy sale to complete.


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