Merits of move for Burnley striker assessed
Newcastle United have today confirmed the signing of Burnley striker Chris Wood following the successful completion of his medical and discussion of terms on Wednesday. The fee for the forward has officially been stated as undisclosed though it is believed to be in the region of £25M.
So, what are the positive and negative aspects of bringing in the New Zealand striker? In terms of plus points, the Magpies certainly need to add quality and quantity to their central attacking options. At 6ft 3inches Wood brings a stature and physical presence to the forward line that has been lacking. He has the ability to hold the ball up and bring team mates into play in attacking areas and can be a target to aim for in the penalty area. With the quality of new full-back Kieran Trippier providing crosses from wide areas and set pieces, Wood should get opportunities.
In his last four seasons at Burnley Wood has hit double figures each season in terms of Premier League goals and has averaged around a goal in every three games throughout his time at Burnley. If he can continue that kind of ratio at St James’ Park, then it might be enough to keep the Toon in the top-flight.
It should also not be overlooked that by taking a key player from a relegation rival, Newcastle have weakened the starting eleven of a team they are competing with near the foot of the Premier League table.
The signing of Wood certainly improves the Newcastle forward line, but some questions have been raised in respect of the transfer. The reported fee of £25M seems steep in comparison to some of signings and at 30 years of age, the club are unlikely to be able to recoup much of that should they choose to sell him before the end of his two-and-a-half-year contract. However, needs must and that is more a reflection of the market that Newcastle are operating in – it is no secret that the club have new money and it is also well known that they are seeking reinforcements to improve the squad this month – they are effectively operating in a sellers-market. While the move does weaken the Burnley, it also gives them a significant sum to be able to add reinforcements of their own and it remains to be seen what use they make of the funds that the sale of the striker have given them.
Wood’s current form also raises questions. Burnley may have struggled to create chances for him, but his return of three goals in twenty one appearances this season is a long way short of his overall return at this level.
Given some of the players that Newcastle have been linked with since the takeover deal for the club was completed, this might appear to be a somewhat underwhelming signing but with the team in the bottom three in the Premier League, some big-name signings in this window may be unrealistic as players may want to see the club secure their Premier League safety before making the move to the north-east. In that respect the transfer activity in the summer may look significantly different – providing players like Wood can help to keep the club up.