I’ve heard a few people laugh that Newcastle spent £25m to sign Chris Wood.
But I tell you what, they won’t find it out in Watford in the dressing room, as Wood prepares to make his debut against them in a proper relegation match at St James’ today.
During his time at the Hornets, Wood was highly respected by us. He always seemed to play well against us and he scored against us for Burnley – and before that was when he was at Leicester.
You could say that the new owners of Newcastle led by Saudi Arabia have pay according to the odds by signing a 30-year-old player for £25m but I disagree.
If Wood plays a key role in keeping Toon – and I believe he can – then he will be pretty well paid 10 times the transfer fee.
Newcastle are in a unique situation, taken over by such wealthy owners but in relegation zone in their first transfer window.
Everyone knows that they have money and they are hungry for reinforcements.
But right-back Kieran Trippier, 31 years old, and Wood are two impressive signings – experienced players who know the league well and won’t take time to adapt.
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As a combination, they can be very useful. Trippier’s dead passes and serves are excellent and he would benefit from having Wood to target.
This is a proper 9, a great shot and a brilliant professional.
He doesn’t need to score double numbers in Newcastle’s remaining 19 games.
If he manages four or five decisive goals, that’s enough.
His all-round play will allow boss Eddie Howe to exploit more of such things Allan Saint-Maximin, too.
And when Callum Wilson returns from injury, the two can function together – whether they start as two strikers or with Wood coming on from the bench if they are at level or fail. Callum will enjoy playing with a target man.
So I think it makes perfect sense that Newcastle should activate the buyout clause for Wood at Burnley.
City of ManchesterThe first signing after Abu Dhabi took over was Robinho but Man City had no trouble with relegation and the Brazilian international was unsuccessful anyway.
What City did, in the early years under their current owners, was sign a lot of seasoned Premier League players, such as Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott, Shay Given and Wayne Bridge.
Newcastle appear to be following a similar path and I expect them to bring in another defender or two, as well as a genuine midfielder this month.
There may be some players – ambitious and younger than Trippier or Wood – who might think twice about joining a club so close to the foot of the table.
But they have a great fan base, a manager who plays hot football, and it’s no secret that big money always helps!
Of course, selling Wood could hurt Burnley’s hopes of staying, but if they bring in the right replacement, there’s every chance the Clarets will see the move as a good deal for them as well.
They are a squad in need of a refresh, with some players out of contract at the end of the season, and this could start that process.
I disagree that the relegation picture is just a case of three going down from the current bottom four – Watford, Burnley, Newcastle and Norwich.
Leeds are not safe and they have a slim line-up, while Brentford are threatening to drop like a rock and I don’t believe they played to the strength of their centre-back Ivan Toney late in the game.
And while you would normally never consider Everton a relegation candidate, you are now wondering where their next league win will come from.
But I worry about my old club Watford, who have a big week ahead of them, facing all three clubs below them in the span of six days.
I’ve been watching a lot of their games lately and I feel they have a lot of speed and firepower going forward with Emmanuel Dennis, Ismaila Sarr and Josh King.
But they haven’t got the balance in midfield and their defence has been a problem for three or four years now.
I thought Claudio Ranieri would be a good date who would help them defend more firmly but things have not worked out so far and this is clearly a great week for the player’s future. IDEA.
Win all three and Watford will be almost in the middle of the table. Lose them all and they might end up at the bottom.
Tuesday’s Burnley away game in particular is a concern for me, as Sean Dyche’s side would love to get stuck into that defence.
Today’s match at Newcastle will be very difficult. The first goal will be important because it will likely be the only one.
With my Watford hat, I hope it won’t be Wood winner on his debut.
But it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended up that way.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17329307/newcastle-chris-wood-transfer-burnley-deeney/ Chris Wood will pay 10 times the £25m transfer fee if he saves Newcastle from Premier League relegation