Chris Wood to Newcastle for £25m shows Saudis have one priority | Newcastle United

Overpriced panic purchase, transformational stroke of genius or one thing in between? By late Could, when Newcastle go to Turf Moor for their last Premier League recreation of the season, the reply ought to be obvious.

The second Yasir al-Rumayyan agreed to set off the £25m launch clause in Chris Wood’s contract at Burnley, Newcastle’s chairman emphasised that, proper now, his membership have a single priority.

By paying prime greenback for a 30-year-old striker who has scored three targets in 18 appearances this season and whose switch was confirmed on Thursday morning, Rumayyan indicated that, so as to avert relegation, the Saudi Arabian-controlled membership will press each accessible button and flick all doable switches. Brief-term considering is now not taboo.

Furthermore, even when the worth tag dictates this can be very troublesome to have envisaged one other top-tier staff activating Wood’s launch clause, the New Zealand centre-forward may show a wonderful addition to Eddie Howe’s aspect.


Wood’s maybe surprisingly eclectic style in music variously encompasses the Kings of Leon, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and Howe should belief his formidable aerial presence will carry related breadth and variety to a struggling, continuously one-dimensional, Newcastle XI.

The supervisor, having tried to begin addressing this downside by paying up to £15m to transplant the England attacking right-back Kieran Trippier from Atlético Madrid to Tyneside final week, wanted a central striker to join with Trippier’s crosses.

That ahead was supposed to be Callum Wilson, a typically spectacular performer throughout a season by which Newcastle have received one recreation – in opposition to Burnley – however calf hassle will sideline Wilson for eight weeks.

Newcastle have paid up to £15m for the 31-year-old Kieran Trippier and hope Chris Wood can connect with the right-back’s crosses.
Newcastle have paid up to £15m for the 31-year-old Kieran Trippier and hope Chris Wood can join with the right-back’s crosses. {Photograph}: MI Information/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

His harm positioned Howe below immense strain, forcing a reordering of recruitment priorities, with the necessity for central defenders immediately deemed much less essential than buying Wood in time for Saturday’s probably season-defining relegation six-pointer at residence to Watford.

Few pundits would declare Wood is kind of Wilson’s equal however he has scored 10 or extra targets in every of the previous 4 seasons for Burnley, no imply achievement in a aspect continuously on the again foot.

Equally importantly, his elimination from the Turf Moor equation at a time when Maxwel Cornet, Sean Dyche’s most gifted attacker, is representing Ivory Coast on the Africa Cup of Nations, may exert a disastrous impact on Burnley’s survival hopes. With three from Norwich, Newcastle, Burnley and Watford showing Championship-bound it may successfully rescue Howe’s staff.

A lot hinges on Dyche’s capability to reinvest the Wood hundreds of thousands swiftly and efficiently however he is not going to be simple to substitute and there are fears Cornet might endure from now not having the ability to play off the previous Leeds goal man. Small marvel Burnley’s supervisor is outwardly incandescent at his No 9’s departure. Or that Norwich aren’t overly smitten by permitting their midfielder Todd Cantwell to transfer to St James’ Park.

Wood invariably operated as a part of a entrance two for Dyche, sometimes being deployed alongside Cornet or Ashley Barnes, and with Howe eager on configuring Newcastle in a 4–4-2, a partnership with the extra improvisational Allan Saint-Maximin might carry out the perfect within the not too long ago disappointing Frenchman.

Can Chris Wood bring more out of the recently disappointing Allan Saint-Maximin (left)?
Can Chris Wood carry extra out of the not too long ago disappointing Allan Saint-Maximin (left)? {Photograph}: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Photos

If one of Wood’s key roles might be to polish off crosses – usually from Trippier – his capability to maintain up the ball, press from the entrance and bully defenders into submission can solely strengthen a Newcastle aspect who have scored a modest 19 targets.

“He’s a really harmful attacking menace, has a physicality and character that I actually like, and he has huge expertise within the Premier League,” Howe mentioned. “He might be a terrific match for us.” Wood described the transfer as “a really thrilling alternative” and mentioned he was decided to “repay the religion” proven by Howe and the membership.

As soon as Wilson is again, it isn’t inconceivable he may play alongside Wood; in spite of everything the previous did effectively in a large position throughout a short flirtation with a break up striker system that includes Miguel Almirón as a false 9 below Steve Bruce’s administration final season.

Again then Mike Ashley owned Newcastle and the retail magnate actively pursued a coverage of shopping for primarily gamers aged below 25 possessing robust resale potential. It’s unimaginable to think about Ashley sanctioning Wood’s signing, not to mention that of the 31-year-old Trippier, however such failure to speculate to accumulate largely explains why the membership have been twice relegated on his watch.


Even when Wood loses his beginning place on Wilson’s return, he might be deemed cash effectively spent if he helps Newcastle keep away from the destiny they suffered in 2009 and 2016.

Ought to the worst occur, Trippier and Wood are gamers who could be anticipated to excel within the second tier, serving to assist safe promotion on the first try, however no one at St James’ Park desires to ponder that risk. When, final October, Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund bought a majority 80% stake in a membership co-owned with the minority shareholders Amanda Staveley and Reuben Brothers, it definitely didn’t envisage struggling the spectacular lack of face throughout the Center East which might accompany relegation.

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At a juncture when Paris St-Germain and Manchester Metropolis are thriving below the management of Saudi’s Gulf neighbours in Qatar and the emirate of Abu Dhabi respectively, such a calamity wouldn’t be remotely effectively acquired in Riyadh and Jeddah. Championship soccer was by no means supposed to be a part of the geopolitical smooth energy playbook.

Again at Turf Moor, Burnley’s workers and gamers reportedly really feel let down, if not downright betrayed, by Wood’s defection to a direct rival able to damaging their future livelihoods.

Howe, Rumayyan and Staveley should hope he reveals related ruthlessness in entrance of purpose.

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