Chris Wood has given an “exclusive” interview with the Independent, in which he now claims that he never “refused” to play for Leeds United and also claims that he never refused a contract with Leeds. Wood essentially blames the whole fiasco on other people, which is odd because of his actions, and tweets, from the day in question.
Chris Wood has now “set the record straight” over his exit from Leeds, which is odd, given that the narrative that we all had about his departure was from, well, the man himself. After traveling to Sunderland with the team, he was excluded from the matchday squad which was at his request, per the tweet that he sent out himself.
It was no secret that Burnley had been pursuing Chris Wood, as there were many reports in the press that Burnley had at least one bid already rejected. News came out the night before stating that an offer was accepted and that Wood was on his way to Lancashire to join up the the Clarets, so it was a little surprising to see him with the team in Sunderland before the match. Before the starting XI was announced, however, Wood tweeted out that he would not participate in the match because of “interest from a premier league club” that was later confirmed to be Burnley, as the move went through on Monday.
So which is it, Chris?
It is slightly beyond the pale that Wood should now, a full month after the move, claim that it was part of the deal with Burnley that he not play in the match against Sunderland. As most fans said at the time, no one would have gotten angry with him if he had said nothing. With all of the rumors about him moving on to Burnley, him not appearing in the match would have not been a big deal. It’s not as if Leeds fans haven’t seen this song-and-dance before.
But he was the one who took the time to type something out and tweet that he was choosing to not play in the match. No one forced him to tweet anything out, and honestly, this interview is completely unnecessary.
Another issue that Wood raised in the interview was the question of a new contract. Radrizzani remarked after Wood was sold that the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement over a new contract, and so that while it was not something that the brass at Leeds wanted to do, they felt they had no choice but to sell Wood on.
Wood said in the interview that no firm offer had been made:
There were never anything amounting to serious contract talks between Wood and Leeds. “We never actually sat down and talked about figures or anything like that,” he says. “It was never on my agenda, to sign a new contract. At the time I was still holding out hope for a Premier League club. A new deal could have been discussed when the transfer window closed.”
Wood was disappointed when word was put out that he had turned down a lucrative contract just as he was on his way to Burnley. It made him look like the villain. “They knew the bid was going in, and the bid was going to be accepted that Friday,” Wood said. “They played the game to make sure they don’t look bad in front of the fans. As much as I wanted it to be amicable, and they did, I understand they cannot be seen to be getting rid of their top scorer.”
On a personal level between Wood and Radrizzani, though, there is still warmth, and he wishes his former club all the best. “He thanked me for my services, and I hope he does well, he’s a good man” Wood said. “He just needed his team to look good and not be the villain in this case.”
Chris Wood was disappointed that he felt like he was made to “look like the villain” after word came out that he didn’t want to sign a new contract? Well, if his representatives made it clear that he didn’t want to sign a new contract, as he said it wasn’t “on my agenda,” then yeah, Chris, you did refuse to sign a new contract to force a move to a Premier League side. Which, seriously, all fans understood. When the big money Premier League comes a knocking, most players go. He was “holding out hope for a Premier League Club” so when Radrizzani said that the club “played the game” which game would the club be playing exactly? The one where the player wants to move so the club sells him?
A player doesn’t have to submit a transfer request or refuse to play to make it clear that they want out. Wood himself says that he wanted a move to a Premier League club, but wants it both ways, saying that the club sold him after he didn’t really refuse a new contract.
This is old news. Leeds have moved on, as has Chris Wood. The only reason to do this interview is to make himself feel better. There is no other reason. Wood tweeted out one thing, and is now saying another thing. Why? Yeah, some fans were mad after he left, and it felt kind of good to beat Burnley in the League Cup with both Charlie Taylor and Chris Wood in the side, but whatever. Leeds are finally looking up again, and Wood is stuck at Burnley. Hope he enjoys the crappy mobile phone service. MOT.