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Barnsley has ‘first right’ to sign USMNT’s Dike, fee not near $20M

Amid a banner week for American nationals in Europe, Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards are particularly pleased by the performance of Christian Pulisic, who looks to finally be regaining his top form.

The club future of USMNT striker Daryl Dike is in the hands of Barnsley.

The 20-year-old Oklahoma native -- he turns 21 in early June -- has helped propel the Tykes into the discussion for Premier League promotion.

Should they fail to achieve that goal, the control doesn’t necessarily shift back to parent club Orlando City in Major League Soccer as the big, young striker has garnered attention and interest from around the Premier League and Championship.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

Barnsley has ‘first right’ to buy the loanee for around -- well, wait! The much-mentioned $20 million transfer fee is not accurate, according to Tykes’ CEO Dane Murphy. And he says the Tykes may buy him even if they are not promoted to the top flight.

“We have first right and we can sign him if we pay the fee that was agreed,” Murphy said. “The right to buy him is ours until we choose to use it or not.”

Murphy says missing out on promotion and the money that brings would not exclude the Reds from signing Dike permanently. He also rubbished reports that the fee was around £15million, after previously saying it was closer to fees the Reds have paid in the past.

This is all great news for Barnsley, with Leeds, Everton, and Arsenal all linked with the striker in previous weeks. Murphy also said that Orlando is unlikely recall Dike before the Championship playoffs, which makes sense given their hopes that the price tag keeps going up.

The twice-capped Dike has eight goals in 14 matches for Burnley, all but one of those wins, as the Tykes are between 3-5 points clear of seventh place with a match-in-hand on its nearest chasers (Seventh-place Reading is level 0-0 with Cardiff City at time of this post).

Hey! They could even buy him and loan him to a Premier League club for a fee in excess of his transfer fee if it is indeed low.

What will happen to Dike after the Championship season?

Is it cynical to say that Orlando wants Dike to score and score and score right up the end of a 4-3 loss in the promotion playoff final?

Murphy’s comments that Dike’s agreed-upon fee is along the lines of their previous purchases would imply that the Tykes could buy him even if they are not promoted -- they haven’t paid more than $3 million for a player in a decade -- but a Premier League spot would make it silly for them not to pay that fee given Dike’s age, national team status, and sought-after U.S. market exposure.

But his price tag could be much higher if the Tykes fail to run the playoff gauntlet, as even high-flying Championship sides, perhaps recently-relegated ones like West Brom (likely) and Fulham (probably) would be ready to negotiate.

Dike’s older brother Bright had an established MLS career and was capped twice by Nigeria, eventually finishing his career between the Russian Premier League and Malaysia. His cousin Emmanuel Emenike collected 37 caps for Nigeria during a long career with stops at West Ham, Spartak Moscow, and Fenerbahce.

Whether Murphy is being cute about the fee or MLS, Orlando, and/or Dike’s agents have fed the $20 million fee, there’s no doubt he could fetch far more than $3 million.

It would also be funny if Barnsley agreed to the $20M number, given that it would represent the second-biggest outgoing sale in MLS history (to Miguel Almiron’s move to Newcastle). Even $8 million would be top five, $5 million comfortably in the top nine.

Follow @NicholasMendola