Missing Oli McBurnie was near-fatal error by Sunderland

Oliver McBurnie of Swansea City (L) in action during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on April 5, 2017 in Swansea, Wales.

Sunderland's situation could be a lot less precarious had they signed Swansea City's Oli McBurnie instead of Middlesbrough dud Ashley Fletcher.

Oliver McBurnie of Swansea City (L) in action during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on April 5, 2017 in Swansea, Wales.

Sunderland fans could justifiably feel sick every time that Oli McBurnie scores for Barnsley.

The young Scottish striker bagged his sixth goal in eight Championship games for the Tykes last night and he continues to look like an outstanding signing, having joined on loan from Swansea in January.

Sadly for Sunderland, it was they who looked most likely to sign the 21-year-old in January and The Chronicle reported that Chris Coleman was 'closing in' on the youngster at one point.

However, a move to the Stadium of Light never materialised and the Black Cats wound up signing Ashley Fletcher on loan.

But the Middlesbrough-owned striker hasn't scored in seven Championship games for relegation-threatened Sunderland you must wonder how less precarious their situation would be had Coleman got McBurnie.

Oliver McBurnie and Martin Olsson of Swansea City cekebrate victory after the Premier League match between Watford and Swansea City at Vicarage Road on December 30, 2017 in Watford,...

Worse yet, McBurnie is actually pushing Coleman's side closer to League One, given that his goal on Tuesday led to a 1-1 draw with Norwich City and that point means that bottom-of-the-table Sunderland are now five adrift of safety.

Fans of the Wearside club will undoubtedly reflect on the multitude of 'what if' moments which have shaped their disastrous season, but 'what if they signed McBurnie instead of Fletcher' might be the most agonising question of all.

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