Erling Haaland he ain’t but Chris Wood may be the man to help Newcastle swerve relegation

When Newcastle became the richest club in football history overnight, their fans immediately began picturing the world’s best players in the famous black and white stripes.

While it seems inevitable that global superstars will eventually make their way to St James’ Park, it generally takes a while for such a makeover to complete.

In the meantime, the Magpies face the very immediate threat of relegation from the Premier League this season, something that would delay their impending rise considerably.

Hence the more measured first phase of the Saudi revolution currently playing out in the January transfer window.

The likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland remain unrealistic targets and so the fans have been forced to settle for Kieran Trippier (£2.0m) and Chris Wood (£2.6m) at this stage.

Not that they will be complaining of course, the former has been an England regular for the last few years and was a key player for Atletico Madrid during their La Liga triumph just last season.

Switching allegiances


Switching allegiances

As for the New Zealand international, his imminent signing seems to have split opinion.

On the one hand, spending £25million on a 30-year-old with limited resale value and just three goals to his name from 20 appearances this season doesn’t seem like clever business.

However, there are several other factors to consider.

Firstly, money is essentially irrelevant to Newcastle now so there’s no need for them to concern themselves with resale value or, to a certain extent, transfer fees.

Secondly, Wood would not only bolster Eddie Howe’s forward line, his departure would seriously damage Burnley’s chances of avoiding relegation.

The target man has been the Clarets’ top scorer in every season since his transfer from Leeds in 2017.

Goals may have been hard to come by so far this season but Wood has reached double figures for goals in all four of his full Premier League campaigns.

We can only imagine Sean Dyche’s reaction…


We can only imagine Sean Dyche’s reaction…

Naturally, Sean Dyche and company are said to be fuming at the proposed transfer but they are all but powerless to stop it since Newcastle have activated Wood’s release clause.

The two-birds-with-one-stone nature of the switch is one of the reasons many of the St James’ Park faithful are optimistic about the acquirement.

Thirdly, from a stylistic perspective, the two January recruits seem to gel.

One of Trippier’s greatest assets is his crossing, be it from open play or set-pieces, so it makes sense to pair him with an aerially dominant striker – Wood undoubtedly fits the bill if the plan is to convert more crosses into goals.

To ensure top-flight survival, it seems likely that Newcastle only have to get more points than three of Norwich, Burnley, Watford and Leeds.

Wood probably isn’t the man who will score the goal that confirms their place in the Europa League in two or three seasons’ time but he doesn’t have to be – it’s a signing for the here and now.

Newcastle’s escapist?


Newcastle’s escapist?

From a Dream Team perspective, it will be interesting to see how many gaffers take a punt on him once the transfer is officially confirmed.

Callum Wilson (£3.6m) has provided respectable returns when fit since he moved to the north east so it’s clear that there’s points to be gained despite the club’s precarious standing.

It’s probably best to monitor the situation from afar but some bold gaffers may be attracted by the idea of a newly-motivated Wood up against Watford, Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa in the next four Game Weeks.

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