Chris Wood is on Leeds United’s radar ahead of the January transfer window with the Whites eyeing the Newcastle United man to improve Jesse Marsch’s squad ahead of a crucial second-half of the season.
Leeds fans know all about Wood, who scored 44 goals in 88 appearances during a two-year spell at Elland Road.
Since then, the New Zealand international’s career has taken him to Burnley and now Newcastle, with the latter swooping to sign the striker last January as they made a bid to retain their Premier League status.
Whilst Wood help his current club achieve that goal, he’s hardly been front and centre of their plans under Eddie Howe, who has Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak on the books, too.
Yet, Wood was offered the chance to lead the line for Newcastle on Boxing Day in the 3-0 win over Leicester City and, despite an enquiry from Leeds for his service on loan, there’s every chance he could retain his place against the Whites in the final game of 2022 at St James’ Park this weekend.
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Wyscout’s stats from Wood’s performance at Leicester underline a clinical outing from the 31-year-old, who opened the scoring with an early penalty. That was one of two shots Wood had on goal and his only effort on target; that, though, doesn’t matter when you consider it set the Magpies up for a comfortable win to keep pace in the race for the top-four.
Wood made one progressive run, won 25% of his offensive duels and had only two touches in the Leicester penalty area. Again, it’s hardly a standout contribution, but he’s been effective in the overall game.
Defensively, three interceptions and seven recoveries make better reading, whilst a pass success of 73% does help to squash some doubts you might have over the striker’s ability to link play as well as someone like Patrick Bamford or Rodrigo.
The key thing for Leeds pursuing Wood, though, maybe comes beyond this outing at Leicester. In five-and-a-half years since leaving Elland Road he’s averaged 32 Premier League appearances per season. He’s also scored an average of 9.6 goals per term. His fitness is something you can rely on, as is his goal return.
Of course, Leeds aren’t certain to get Wood and what that loan enquiry results in remains to be seen. Yet, it’s not difficult to understand why this clinically reliable Premier League striker is on the radar.