Chris Wood: Masterstroke transfer but by who?
Credit: Andy Whitehead | MI News

Reports emerged yesterday that Chris Wood is set to join the Saudi-owned club in a deal that has left relegation rivals Burnley in a state of shock. 

It is understood a release clause has been triggered in Wood's contract that will see him move to the Magpies for a fee reported between £20 and £25 million.

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  • This will turn out to be a masterstroke transfer but for who?

Newcastle have signed a striker who has a proven record in the Premier League. Since Wood signed for the Clarets for £15 million in the 2017 summer transfer window, he has scored a minimum of 10 goals in each season since, a key contribution in the Clarets excelling in the Premier League. Newcastle are in desperate need forward options and since a calf injury to main marksman Callum Wilson which will keep him sidelined for a number of weeks. Wood will provide Eddie Howe's team a focal point to their attacks and with the support of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and new signing Kieran Trippier, Wood will have plenty of chances to add to his respectable Premier League goal tally. 

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Wood's stats from the 2019/20 season make for exciting reading for the Toon Army. He won 842 Aerial Duels ranking 1st, 8 Headed Goals ranking 2nd and 26 Headed shots on target ranking 1st (Courtesy of Sky Sports). These stats are compared to the Premier League's leading forwards that season and if given suitable service he can thrive at Newcastle United. 

  • Why would Burnley sell?

First and foremost, it seemed they had no choice with Newcastle triggering a release clause in Wood's contract, however, there are contrary reports that this release clause is only activated in the summer and chairman Alan Pace sanctioned the deal. Sean Dyche will surely be seething to be losing one of his key and trusted players to a relegation rival on the eve of two huge home games vs Leicester City and fellow relegation rivals Watford. Dyche will want assurances from the ALK Capital board that he has serious funds to replace Wood and rejuvenate his side. 

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Burnley selling their leading striker to a relegation rival on the surface seems a disastrous move but if you look closer the Clarets could have pulled off the masterstroke transfer. 

Wood's form has not been good enough this season only mastering three goals in seventeen starts, a goal coming every 459 minutes. The service to the Kiwi this season has been inadequate but he has also missed six big chances. In the last two outings he missed a headed chance at Old Trafford and two guilt edged opportunities at Leeds United when both games where in the balance. His overall game play has been poor, he has only won 51% of Aerial Duels this season, 59% passing accuracy and no assists or key chances created. (Courtesy of Sofa Score) This would indicate that Wood has not been contributing enough for the Clarets this term and now Wood is 30 this could be the ideal time to sell. The side from East Lancashire have averaged the oldest starting 11 in the Premier League this season and selling Wood will give them the opportunity the lower the age of the squad and freshen the starting 11 which is badly required. 

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  • Conclusion

Only time will tell who benefits more from this deal in the short and long term. The last day of the season could provide a mouth watering prospect with a potential winner takes all survival clash at Turf Moor as the Clarets face off with the Magpies. Will Wood condemn his former employers to the Championship or will Alan Pace and Burnley have the last laugh.